Teachers begin 16 days of strike action at schools across Scotland

Walkouts in two council areas every day until February 6 and an additional 22 days planned this spring.

Teachers are beginning a fresh round of strike action – with walkouts taking place on each of the next 16 school days.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has also confirmed an additional two days of strikes in all schools and sectors on February 28 and March 1, followed by a rolling programme of strikes for 20 days between March 13 and April 21.

Unions have already rejected a pay offer which would see most teachers receive a sub-inflationary 5% wage rise, with the lowest earners getting an increase of almost 7%.

They are arguing for a 10% uplift, which the Scottish Government said was unaffordable.

In the latest strike action, a rolling 16-day programme of strikes will see union members take action in two council areas each day from Monday until February 6.

Monday, January 16GlasgowEast Lothian
Tuesday 17Perth and KinrossNorth Ayrshire
Wednesday 18OrkneyFife
Thursday 19MorayNorth Lanarkshire
Friday 20AngusEast Dunbartonshire
Monday 23East AyrshireDumfries and Galloway
Tuesday 24StirlingEast Renfrewshire
Wednesday 25South AyrshireEdinburgh
Thursday 26MidlothianWest Dunbartonshire
Friday 27RenfrewshireFalkirk
Monday 30AberdeenshireBorders
Tuesday 31HighlandWest Lothian
Wednesday, February 1ClackmannanshireAberdeen
Thursday 2DundeeArgyll and Bute
Friday 3South LanarkshireWestern Isles
Monday 6InverclydeShetland

EIS members have already taken three days of strikes, one in November and two in January, in the continuing campaign for a fair pay settlement for the year 2022.

Latest on union talks with government

Discussions took place on Thursday involving the Scottish Government, local authority leaders and teaching unions.

Andrea Bradley, the general secretary of the EIS union, said that, despite “warm words”, politicians, ministers and council leaders in the local government body Cosla had “failed to come to the table with a new pay offer to Scotland’s teachers”.

However, education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville insisted the 10% rise teachers were demanding was unaffordable.

Speaking after the meeting of EIS Executive Committee yesterday, general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “The programme of additional strike action, agreed today, is a direct response to the inaction of the Scottish Government and Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) on teacher pay.

“After a year of dither, delay and disingenuity from the Scottish Government and Cosla, Scotland’s teachers have simply had enough.”

Bradley added: “The recent days of strike action by Scotland’s teachers have succeeded in bringing Cosla and the Scottish Government back to the negotiating table but they have yet to put a single extra penny onto that table.

“Scotland’s teachers rejected a sub-inflationary 5% offer six months ago, and little or no progress has been made in negotiations since.

“The prospect of 22 additional days of strike action, on top of the 16 days of rolling action set to begin next week, should signal clearly to the Scottish Government and Cosla that they must now act with urgency.

“Our members are resolute and determined to secure a fair pay settlement, which both properly reflects their value and also takes account of the soaring cost of living.”

Teachers make their voices heard outside HolyroodSTV News

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Strikes in our schools are in no one’s interest – including for pupils, parents and carers who have already had to deal with significant disruption over the past three years.

“It is disappointing that the EIS has proceeded to escalate industrial action – we are continuing to urge teaching unions to reconsider their plans while talks are ongoing.

“Recent discussions have been constructive. There has been a shared understanding that talks have been focused on discussing potential areas for compromise – not on tabling a new offer at this stage.

“To date we have made four offers, all of which have been rejected, but we remain absolutely committed to reaching an agreement on a pay deal that is fair and sustainable for all concerned.”

Councillor Katie Hagmann, Cosla resources spokesperson, said the discussions had been “proactive”, with politicians trying to “find areas of agreement” with the unions.

She said: “Strikes in education are in nobody’s interest and all parties are eager to seek a resolution that not only protects the teaching and wider local government workforce, but also our children and young people’s educational experience.

“Cosla leaders are clear that given the financial pressures being faced it remains the case that the 10% ask of the trade unions remains unaffordable and therefore we still remain a distance apart in terms of a settlement.”

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