Pay on the table - again

18th May 2007 at 01:00
THE FUTURE shape of teachers' pay is in the melting point this week as union leaders wait to see who faces them across the negotiating table.

Although a minority SNP government has been formed at Holy-rood, the rest of the management side is made up of local authority representatives.

Political horsetrading is still taking place over which parties will lead the councils (only Glasgow and North Lanarkshire, with Labour administrations, are under one party's control).

At the time of going to press, half a dozen councils were holding statutory meetings to decide who will provide coalition rule. A number of other councils will finalise their positions next week.

The Scottish Negotiating Com-mittee for Teachers' is facing crucial talks to determine teachers' pay from April next year when the current four-year deal runs out.

The Educational Institute of Scotland is playing it low key until the dust settles. Its members seem to be doing the same, since there are few resolutions on pay for its annual conference next month.

The arguments will centre around whether there should be annual pay awards or a repeat of the three or four-year settlements, which are not popular in local authority or government circles since they lock management in to a predetermined salaries bill. The EIS conference will also hear arguments about whether the lower consumer price index (which excludes mortgages) or the retail price index should be used to agree pay levels.

The final stage of the current four-year deal saw teachers given a 2.25 per cent pay rise this year at a time when the consumer price index was showing an increase of 3.1 per cent and the RPI 4.8 per cent, while the index of average earnings had gone up by 5.2 per cent over the past year.

However, the latest figures this week showed a slow down in inflation, with the CPI rising by 2.8 per cent in March and the RPI by 4.5 per cent in April.

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