Scotland’s largest teaching union has rejected the latest pay offer tabled by the Scottish Government, paving the way for strikes to continue later this month.
The Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) described the 11.5% rise over two years, which was unanimously rejected by the union’s salaries committee, as “smoke and mirrors,” adding it remained “insufficient” with inflation above 10%.
Educators across the country have walked out of classrooms over the past few months during industrial action over Holyrood and local authority body COSLA’s failure to present an adequate agreement.
Further strikes, scheduled for February 28 and March 1 are now likely to go ahead, according to general secretary Andrea Bradley.
She said: “The 6% offer for this year is only 1% less of a pay cut than that previously offered, twice, by the Scottish Government and COSLA.
“Teachers have already lost more than 1% of their salaries through being forced into strike action so, essentially, teachers already more than paid for this revised offer themselves.”
The offer is the fifth to go before unions since the dispute started last year. It was worth 6% in the first year and a further 5.5% in 2023/24.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Sommerville said “£50m worth of investment” had already been put forward by the Scottish Government in a bid to bridge the gap.
But Bradley said the conduct of the Government and COSLA during the process had been “unacceptable,” adding the dispute had been “dragged out interminably”.
“From seeking to create divisions both between different grades of teachers and different groups of workers, to seeking to bypass the agreed negotiating processes and sharing information on pay offers with the media before sharing them with the trade unions representing teachers – these have not been good-faith actions,” she said.
“Their emphasis throughout has been on spin rather than genuine attempts to reach an agreed pay settlement through proper negotiation.”
COSLA’s resources spokesperson Cllr Katie Hagmann said: “This is very disappointing. The decision by the unions to turn down the offer of good faith, without even asking their members, means that teachers will not see a penny of this pay increase in 22/23.
“Once eventually agreed, any additional pay will be subject to higher tax in 23/24, meaning less money in the pockets of teachers. This was not what Council Leaders wanted nor is it in the best interest of our teaching workforce.”