A fresh pay offer to teachers in Scotland has been described as an “abject insult”, with strike action set to go ahead.
An offer was tabled on Tuesday which would see pay increase by up to 6.85%.
The starting salary for a fully qualified teacher would also reach £35,650, with those at the top end of the scale receiving a 5% rise.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville described the offer as a “fair” one which recognises the cost of living crisis.
However, the EIS immediately rejected the offer and criticised the Scottish Government for failing to make more money available.
The Scottish Government had hoped that strike action, due to take place on Thursday, could have been averted with the tabling of the new offer.
However, the union has indicated that the industrial action will go ahead as scheduled.
EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley described the offer as “divisive” and called for an improved pay deal to be taken forward.
“This offer is nothing less than an abject insult to Scotland’s hard-working teaching professionals,” said Bradley.
“Teachers overwhelmingly rejected a 5% pay offer more than three months ago and now, after months of prevarication and weeks of empty promises, COSLA and the Scottish Government come back with an offer that is worth that same 5% to the vast majority of teachers.
“This is not, as the Scottish Government claims, a progressive offer. It is a divisive offer, made on a differentiated basis which is actually worse for many teachers in promoted posts.”
Bradley said the EIS’ salary committee expressed “outrage” at the offer, as she underlined the strength of feeling on the issue.
She continued: “Contrary to the claims made by the Cabinet Secretary in Parliament and in Scottish Government spin today, this is not an improved, realistic, progressive or generous offer.
“Our members will see this offer for exactly what it is – a kick in the teeth from their employers and the Scottish Government.
“This afternoon’s Salaries Committee expressed outrage at this offer and that outrage is sure to be replicated in staffrooms across Scotland today and tomorrow.
“Our programme of strike action, which will commence as scheduled on Thursday, will clearly show the strength of feeling of Scotland’s teachers who will be out in numbers and with strong voice on picket lines and at regional rallies.”
And NASUWT said its members backed industrial action, with a ballot winning 92% support a strike and 96% backing action short on strike. The turnout was almost 64%.
Mike Corbett, the union’s national official in Scotland, said members were “angry, demoralised and have had enough”.
“They are sick of being expected to put up with declining wages while working ever harder to meet the increasing challenges being faced in our schools,” he said.
“They are facing increasing financial hardship with more teachers having to cut back on basic necessities.”
NASUWT members will strike on December 7 and 8 and take action short of strike from December 9.
Scottish Conservative education spokesman Stephen Kerr criticised the Scottish Government’s handling of the pay dispute.
He also indicated that even if the strike action had been avoided, many parents would already have made alternate arrangements with their children being off school.
“It should never have reached the stage where the SNP government were scrambling around at the eleventh hour trying to strike a deal with teachers and it’s no surprise that this last-gasp offer has been rejected,” he said.
“Shirley-Anne Somerville has been missing in action as strikes have loomed large for months. It is completely unacceptable that the education secretary has dithered and delayed when she knew teacher pay claims were coming down the road.
“Even if this offer had been accepted, many parents would already have made alternative arrangements for Thursday to deal with the expected disruption.”
Kerr added: “This whole saga has shown that Shirley-Anne Somerville lacks the leadership required to resolve disputes satisfactorily.
“The SNP have been found out and their last-minute decision that education is actually a priority for them has been too little, too late. This is a shocking failure letting down pupils, parents and teachers.”
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