Strikes planned for Scotland’s schools next week are set to go ahead after no new pay offer was made.
Talks involving the Scottish Government, council leaders and teaching unions took place on Thursday but failed to produce an improved deal.
Scotland’s largest teaching union the EIS confirmed a rolling 16-day programme of strikes – which will see staff take action in two local authorities each day – will get under way on Monday.
Andrea Bradley, the union’s general secretary, said, despite “warm words”, politicians, ministers and local government body COSLA had “failed to come to the table with a new pay offer to Scotland’s teachers”.
“Our members are not prepared to accept the repeatedly reheated sub-inflationary offer that has now been sitting around for six months, and that is neither fair nor affordable for teachers,” she said.
COSLA said afterwards that they “remain a distance apart in terms of a settlement” with the unions.
The EIS’s national executive committee will meet on Friday to discuss its next steps as part of its campaign.
Unions have already rejected a pay offer which would see most teachers receive a 5% wage rise, although the lowest earners would get an increase of almost 7%.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville insisted the 10% teachers are demanding is unaffordable.
“There is a shared understanding that these latest talks are focussed on examining options for compromise, rather than tabling a new offer at this time,” she said.
“While talks are ongoing, the Scottish Government continues to urge the teaching unions to reconsider their plans for industrial action.”
“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.
“We remain absolutely committed to a fair and sustainable pay deal.”
Councillor Katie Hagmann, COSLA resources spokesperson, said the discussions had been “proactive”, with politicians trying to “find areas of agreement” with the unions.
“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,” she said.
“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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