Scottish secondary teachers union votes to accept pay deal

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association announced members voted overwhelmingly to accept the latest offer.

Scottish secondary teachers union SSTA votes to accept pay deal iStock

A Scottish teaching union has voted to back a pay deal aimed at ending months of classroom walkouts.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) announced on Thursday afternoon that members had balloted in favour of the local council offer.

Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, is still to announce the result of its ballot which closes on Friday – but it is recommending members accept.

The deal is made up of a 7% rise for last year, a 5% rise this year and a 2% increase from January 2024.

Members voted overwhelmingly to accept and brought the SSTA pay dispute and further industrial action to an end.

The SSTA said 85.3% of members returned their ballots in favour of accepting with 14.7% rejecting the latest offer.

The ballot had a turnout of 79.9%.

Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary, said: “Throughout the period of industrial action, the SSTA has taken a measured approach, and has been willing to negotiate to find a solution to the pay dispute.

“However, the SSTA has a major concern over the unnecessary pay cap; this seems to be an act of political dogma rather than a rational proposal.”

The new pay deal tabled by Scottish local council body COSLA last week covers a 28-month period from April 1, 2022, to July 31, 2024, and effects all teachers earning up to £80,000.

Mr Searson said the cap was a “considerable barrier” in the career structure for secondary school teachers.

“It is no surprise that teachers are walking away and this salary cap is just a slap in the face to teachers in senior positions in schools,” he said.

The EIS ballot closes at 10am on Friday and a result is expected to be announced shortly after.

Last week, 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.”

Scotland’s education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “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 £320m of funding this year and next.

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

What is the new offer?

The latest pay deal covers a 28-month period from April 1, 2022, to July 31, 2024, and effects all teachers earning up to £80,000.

It includes:

  • A 7% increase back-dated to April 1, 2022
  • A 5% increase in effect from April 1, 2023
  • A 2% increase in effect from January 1, 2024
  • An agreement that the pay year will be aligned with the school year starting from August 2024
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