Teachers escalate strikes targeting Nicola Sturgeon's constituency

Primary and secondary schools were closed across Scotland this week – and more strikes are on the way later this month and into March.

Scotland’s largest teaching union is escalating strike action targeting schools in the constituencies of main Scottish Government and council decision makers.

The EIS announced fresh walk-outs forcing schools to close a year on from the teachers’ pay claim being submitted.

In addition to two days of national strike action already called for February 28 and March 1, and a further 20 days of rolling strikes across all councils from March 13 until April 21, there will also be targeted action in the constituencies of the First Minister, deputy first minister, education secretary, and COSLA’s resources spokesperson councillor Katie Hagmann.

“It is deeply regrettable that the continuing inaction, obfuscation and spin from the Scottish Government and COSLA on teachers’ pay has led to an escalation of our programme of strike action,” said EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley.

Tuesday marks a year since teachers submitted their pay claim demanding am inflation-matching 10% rise.

The Scottish Government and COSLA initially offered a 2% pay settlement but have since increased this to a deal meaning the lowest earners receive 6.85%.

“The Scottish Government and COSLA have dithered, delayed and dragged their feet while the cost of living has continued to soar,” Ms Bradley said.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, whose constituency of Dunfermline will also be targeted, said the 10% rise teachers were demanding was unaffordable.

Perthshire North, John Swinney’s constituency, Galloway, which councillor Katie Hagmann represents, and East Dunbartonshire, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer’s constituency, are also included.

The EIS said four of the five areas, including Sturgeon’s Glasgow Southside constituency, will face three further days of strikes from Tuesday, March 7.

Details of the schools involved in the targeted action have yet to be confirmed.

“The latest offer, for a well-below inflation 5%, has now been kicking around for six months and has been rejected by Scotland’s teachers twice,” Ms Bradley said.

“Our members have already taken part in three days of national strike action, and a further 16 days of rolling action across the country.

“The response from the Scottish Government and Cosla has been, essentially, nil – and this now has forced an escalation in our action. The offer of a 9% real-terms pay cut, which is what is on the table, will never be acceptable.”

Somerville said: “We have been clear that a 10% pay increase for all teachers is unaffordable within the Scottish Government’s fixed budget.

“We’ve also been very clear about the need to progress opportunities for compromise so we can reach a fair and sustainable settlement for all involved.

“Escalation of strike action by targeting pupils, parents and carers in certain parts of the country does not change the financial reality the Government is operating in.”

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