Scottish teacher strikes called off following improved pay offer

The Scottish Government tabled an improved offer of a 7% backdated pay rise amid the ongoing bitter dispute with unions.

Teacher strikes across Scotland called off after Scottish Government and COSLA offer improved pay deal STV News

Planned teacher strikes across Scotland have been called off after the Scottish Government and local authority body COSLA tabled an improved pay offer.

On Friday, unions representing educators agreed to put the offer to members, which will see planned industrial action later this month paused.

The proposal includes a 7% backdated pay rise from last April followed by a 5% rise this April and another 2% increase in January, 2024.

Teachers were set to hold 20 days of strike action between March 13 and April 21.

But that has now been suspended and a ballot opened for members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) to vote on the offer.

Union bosses have recommended the new terms be accepted.

Andrea Bradley, the union’s general secretary, said: “The view of our negotiators is that this deal represents the best that can be achieved in the current political and financial climate without a much more prolonged campaign of industrial action.

“It is through the determination and collective action of teachers and associated professionals across Scotland, led by EIS members, that we have improved this pay offer from an initial 2% for the current year to 7% for the current financial year, with additional increases of 5% and then 2% within the following financial year.

“This will result in the majority of teachers seeing a 12.3% increase on their current rate of pay by April of this year and by 14% by January 2024.”

There were also targeted strikes planned for the constituencies of high profile Scottish ministers, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, next week.

Scotland’s largest teaching union launched its pay campaign, calling for a 10% increase, in May last year.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville previously dismissed the figure as “unaffordable”.

Last month, both the EIS and NASUWT unions rejected an offer that would see a 6% increase for all staff earning up to £80,000 backdated to April 2022, and a further 5.5% rise from this April.

Bradley added: “This has been a long dispute which has been challenging for all concerned.

“Teachers have taken strike action as a last resort, and that strike action has delivered an improved pay offer that the EIS can credibly put to its members with a recommendation to accept. It is now for our members to decide whether to accept this offer, and it is our recommendation that they should do so.”

The offer comes as Scottish schools reopened on Thursday following two days of strike action over the ongoing pay dispute.

The ballot, which opened online on Friday, runs until 10am on Friday, March 10.

Somerville said: “I welcome the EIS’s decision to suspend industrial action while they consider this offer.

“This will end the disruption to learning for our children and young people particularly in the run up to exams.

“We have worked closely with the unions to compromise and have arrived at a deal which is fair, affordable, and sustainable for everyone involved. The Scottish Government is supporting this deal with over £320 million of funding this year and next.”

She added: “This is the best and final offer possible and recognises the invaluable contribution teachers make to the lives of our children and young people.”

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