Teacher pay talks plunged into cri­sis

Sunday Herald - - NEWS - BY PAUL HUTCHEON

HIGH-LEVEL talks on agree­ing a pay deal for teach­ers are in cri­sis af­ter a key trade union re­jected a pro­posal to award some mem­bers a 1.5 per cent rise. Mem­bers of the Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land (EIS) voted down a plan that would see bet­ter-off class­room teach­ers get­ting a big­ger in­crease than other col­leagues. Ac­cord­ing to one source in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor, the snub means the prospect of a strike bal­lot on pay has be­come more likely.

A tri­par­tite body in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Scot­tish Govern­ment, the unions and Cosla – which em­ploys teach­ers – has been in talks about end­ing the stale­mate. As re­vealed by the Sun­day Her­ald, a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal was put on the ta­ble for a 1.5 per cent rise for new en­trants into the pro­fes­sion and class­room teach­ers at the top of the pay scale. Other teach­ers would only get one per cent, re­sult­ing in a “dif­fer­en­ti­ated” deal whereby staff on higher in­comes get a more gen­er­ous rise.

How­ever, at a meet­ing on Fri­day of the EIS coun­cil, mem­bers over­whelm­ingly voted against the plan. It is un­der­stood there was scep­ti­cism about a dif­fer­en­ti­ated deal, while other fig­ures wanted a higher rise for all teach­ers.

A se­nior ed­u­ca­tion source said: “Teach­ers have had enough of de­risory pay rises. We’ve seen how lec­tur­ers won their dis­pute by stand­ing to­gether and not ac­cept­ing any old of­fer from man­age­ment. The Scot­tish Govern­ment should be in no doubt that teach­ers will strike un­til we win a restora­tive pay award.” The EIS de­ci­sion means the tri­par­tite body will have to revisit the deal, rather than rub­ber-stamp the 1.5 per cent pro­posal.

Labour MSP Iain Gray said: “Un­der the SNP, our chil­dren’s teach­ers are un­der­val­ued and un­der too much pres­sure. That is why we have a re­cruit­ment cri­sis in some ar­eas and some sub­jects.”

Tory MSP Liz Smith said: “The in­creas­ing de­mands of the Cur­ricu­lum for Ex­cel­lence, set against the back­drop of 4,000 fewer teach­ers, has brought about in­creased work­loads. That is why these de­mands are be­ing made.”

A spokesper­son for the EIS said: “There is no for­mal of­fer from Cosla as yet. The EIS coun­cil was dis­cussing ne­go­ti­a­tions in a gen­eral sense and de­ter­min­ing its strat­egy.”

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