Teaching union blasts 'wasted opportunity' as further strikes loom

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association said it has 'no option' but to consider more strike action after failed talks.

Scottish teaching union blasts latest pay discussions as ‘wasted opportunity’ ahead of further strike action STV News

A teaching union has described the latest round of pay discussions as a “wasted opportunity” and warned of further strike action unless the Scottish Government puts forward a suitable offer.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said it has “no option” but to consider more strike action after pay talks between the Scottish Government, local government body COSLA and teaching unions on Thursday failed to find a resolution.

Unions have rejected a pay offer which would see most teachers receive a 5% wage rise, although the lowest earners would get an increase of 6.85%.

The SSTA and other teaching unions, including the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and NASUWT, claim “no new offer” has been made and will meet to discuss new dates next week.

Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary said: “The Scottish Government and COSLA have again failed to put an improved pay offer on the table and have blocked the path towards further negotiations. Despite a range of meetings in the last week with the cabinet secretary plus two ‘negotiating’ meetings of the Extended Joint Chairs no new offer has been made”.

“This meeting was another wasted opportunity to bring the dispute to an end and prevent further strike action. The approach to negotiation with the trade unions is causing more disruption to pupils’ learning and giving unnecessary worry to parents.

“It is time the Scottish Government and COSLA took responsibility for the position and tried to resolve this pay dispute.

“It is evident that COSLA and the Scottish Government are refusing to listen to the view of the teachers’ Side and are happy for teacher strikes that began in November and December to extend into January and to allow further strikes to take place in the coming months”.

Catherine Nicol, SSTA President, added: “The SSTA are insisting that only a suitable pay offer that will encourage teachers to remain in the profession will be acceptable. This would attract the highest quality graduates and ensure we sustain the high-quality education system we have in Scotland: a system that is respected across Europe. However, the current lack of negotiations shows a level of disrespect to the profession”.

“The SSTA Executive has no option but to look at taking strike action and other measures to get the message across. We are not just fighting for a fair salary increase but for the future of education in Scotland”.

On Thursday evening, the EIS confirmed it will go ahead with 16 days of consecutive strike action which is set to begin on Monday.

It will see teachers at two local authorities walk out each day until February 6, and will involve all Scottish councils.

Scottish education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has insisted the 10% teachers are demanding is “unaffordable”.

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