Teacher pay talks plunged into crisis
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.”