The smaller unions welcomed the prospect of having an equal input into review body deliberations and Mr Forsyth said a pay review body would offer him "independent advice". This was seized on by Ronnie Smith, the EIS's general secretary, who countered: "There can be no genuine independence in a body filled with Mr Forsyth's appointees".
Mr Smith added: "There are many cases where the Government has altered the recommendations of review bodies. Mr Forsyth's statement means that he intends effectively to have the last word on teachers' pay." He also took issue with the Secretary of State's contention that a review body would raise the professional status of teachers.
"Teachers in England and Wales, where there has been a pay review body for some time, have seen nothing happen to enhance their professional status. Nor have nurses and other groups subject to pay review bodies."
The two headteachers' organisations, which in the past have pressed for separate seats on the SJNC, gave their backing to an independent pay body. It would break the stranglehold of the EIS, according to Jim Smith, general secretary of the primary heads' association.
Secondary heads would look for salary increases to compensate for increased workload brought about by devolved management in particular, Alistair Johnston, president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, stated.