Teachers announce further strikes across Scotland as schools close

A rolling 16-day programme of strikes got under way on Monday.

Teachers announce further strikes across Scotland as schools close iStock

A teaching union has announced two further days of strike action in Scotland’s schools amid an ongoing pay dispute with the Scottish Government.

The NASUWT confirmed its members would walk out on February 28 and March 1 as a result of the “continuing failure” of ministers and COSLA to come forward with an improved pay offer.

A rolling 16-day programme of strikes got under way on Monday, January 16, with staff walking out in two council areas each day until February 6.

“If ministers hope that teachers will give up the fight for a better deal on their pay they should think again,” NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said.

“We have continued and will continue to talk with ministers and employers in a bid to resolve this dispute, but the reality is that for all of the discussions over recent weeks an improved offer has yet to be made.”

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%.

The NASUWT is calling for a 12% pay award while Scotland’s largest teaching union the EIS is arguing for a 10% uplift, which the Scottish Government said was unaffordable.

NASUWT members are currently under taking action short of strike by refusing to cover for absent colleagues and attending no more than one meeting per week outside pupil sessions.

Following further talks with unions and COSLA on Friday, education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Dialogue remains focused on potential areas for compromise in bringing this dispute to an end – rather than tabling a new offer at this time.

“The Scottish Government values the hard work that our teaching workforce puts in for our learners and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring they receive a fair pay deal.

“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. I continue to urge teaching unions to reconsider current industrial action while talks are ongoing.

“We hope that these discussions will continue to progress towards a compromise to ensure a sustainable deal for all involved.”

Councillor Katie Hagmann, COSLA resources spokesperson, previously 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.”

Currently ongoing strike action closing schools

Date
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