Primary and secondary schools were closed across Scotland this week – and more strikes are on the way later this month and into February.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has announced an additional 16 days of strike action in schools across Scotland, as a dispute over a sub-inflationary 5% pay offer for teachers intensifies.
Wednesday’s action by secondary school teachers involved members of the EIS, the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and NASUWT, and comes after a strike by primary school teachers across Scotland on Tuesday.
The unions rejected the latest offer – which would see most teachers get a 5% pay rise and the lowest earners receive 6.85%.
Instead they are demanding 10%, with the EIS scheduled to begin a rolling programme of strike action next week that will see members walk out in two council areas a day over a 16-day period.
|Monday Jan 16
|Perth and Kinross
|Dumfries and Galloway
|Wednesday February 1
|Argyll and Bute
Andrea Bradley, general secretary of the EIS, on Wednesday highlighted the support given to teachers on picket lines as she said the Scottish Government has “miscalculated the mood of parents towards the teachers”.
She said the National Parent Forum had found in excess of 80% of parents back the strike action – being taken as part of a dispute over pay – despite the disruption caused to learning.
Bradley said this would cause “some consternation” with the Government and local authority leaders in Cosla.
She said: “I think as well miscalculating the mood of teachers and miscalculating that we would not pass the threshold in the ballot, as well as miscalculating that we actually meant it when we said we would go on strike in pursuit of 10%, they have also miscalculated the mood of parents towards the teachers who serve the school communities the length and breadth of this country.
“There’s a series of miscalculations by the Scottish Government.”
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said earlier this week she will leave “no stone unturned” to bring about a quick resolution to the strikes.
However, she added there is still “some distance” between the two sides in the pay dispute.
“I think the challenge that we have is we remain some distance apart on what the Scottish Government and local government can afford and can put on the table from the union demand which is, of course, a 10% increase in pay,” she said.
“If that had been accepted, if the 5% had been accepted, you would’ve actually seen teachers have a 21.8% cumulative rise since 2018.
“So we’re trying very hard to have a fair and affordable package on the table but we do remain unfortunately some distance apart.”
She added: “The pay demands we’re having from our trade union colleagues are simply unaffordable for the Scottish Government working on a fixed budget, already allocated, also eroded by inflation and that does make it a very difficult and challenging process to come to a conclusion and resolution on.”
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