Teachers have been told to reject an “insulting pay offer” as Scotland’s largest teaching union asks them to consider industrial action.
A 5% pay offer from local council body COSLA was rejected by the Educational Institute of Scotland’s (EIS) executive committee last week.
On Friday, a two-week consultative ballot was launched to determine if teachers will strike over the “wholly unacceptable” offer.
It follows industrial action by a host of public sector workers including in waste and rail services.
The teachers’ ballot opened just hours before details of a new pay deal for council staff were revealed and mass walkouts affecting cleansing and school services were suspended.
The Scottish Government has backed a £600m packet that would see the lowest-paid workers employed by councils receiving a rise of £2,000 – around ten or 11%.
“Teachers are increasingly angry that their pay is not keeping pace with the soaring cost of living, as inflation reaches unprecedented levels, and are impatient for the union to take action on their behalf,” EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said.
“The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirm that the RPI rate of inflation in August was 12.3%, while the CPI rate was 10.1%
“ONS figures also indicate a 96% rise in gas prices, a 54% increase in electricity prices, and an average 20% increase in the cost of many basic foodstuffs.
“This is the context in which local authorities are offering a 5% pay settlement – far below the rising cost of living and, effectively, a deep and painful real-terms pay cut for Scotland’s hard-working teachers, some of whom are already experiencing in-work poverty.”
Teachers’ union NASUWT has also confirmed it will reject the pay offer tabled by COSLA after 83% of respondents said it was “inadequate”.
Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, has urged Cosla to come back with a “vastly improved offer”.
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We are committed to supporting a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, the body that negotiates teachers’ pay and conditions of service.
“It is for local government, as the employer, to make any revised offer of pay. Industrial action would not be in anyone’s interest, least of all learners and parents.
“This Government has a strong record of support for teachers, and the 5% offer would mean that teachers received a cumulative pay increase of 21.8% since 2018.”
Teachers will have until September 16 to vote in the online ballot.