New war of words be­tween union and gov­ern­ment

The Herald on Sunday - - THE WEEK -

A FRESH war of words has bro­ken out be­tween the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and the main teach­ing trade union amid claims that pro­ba­tioner teach­ers will see their pay in­crease by over 30%.

The Gov­ern­ment, which is in dis­pute with the Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land (EIS) over pay, con­firmed that a range of fac­tors would see the salaries of new­lyqual­i­fied teach­ers jump to £29,936.

How­ever, the EIS has ac­cused the Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal gov­ern­ment um­brella body COSLA of “smoke and mir­rors” in the way it has com­mu­ni­cated its gen­eral of­fer to teach­ers.

Teach­ers could be bal­loted for strike ac­tion af­ter pay talks with the Gov­ern­ment and COSLA broke down re­cently.The unions want 10% for all teach­ers, while Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney and lo­cal author­ity em­ploy­ers of­fered 3%, plus changes to the main grade scale. The dis­pute es­ca­lated af­ter Mr Swin­ney and COSLA wrote to teach­ers di­rectly, a move that en­raged the EIS.

Ac­cord­ing to the pay “re­struc­tur­ing” ta­ble sent to teach­ers, pro­ba­tion­ers cur­rently on £22,866 will see their pay rise to £29,936 once they achieve full reg­is­tra­tion, which is a near 31% rise.

How­ever, the fig­ure is ar­rived at by adding three sep­a­rate el­e­ments to­gether: a 3% rise; a change to the grad­ing struc­ture; and pay “pro­gres­sion”, oth­er­wise known as an in­cre­ment. The doc­u­ment states: “Im­prove start­ing salaries for newly qual­i­fied teach­ers to £29,936 - which is com­pet­i­tive with other pro­fes­sions.”

The rise would oc­cur when a pro­ba­tioner gets a teach­ing job and moves from ‘point 0’ on the pay scale to ‘point 1’ next year. Cur­rently ‘point one’ is worth £27,438.

An EIS spokesper­son said: “It is mis­lead­ing, in our view, to sug­gest that in­creased salary, as re­sult of and mov­ing from 0 to 1 is part of a pay of­fer – it is a con­se­quence of be­com­ing a full time qual­i­fied teacher.”

He said of the let­ter more gen­er­ally: “This Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment/COSLA let­ter has added more smoke to the smoke and mir­rors of the pay of­fer. It has also set a fire amongst teach­ers; many of our mem­bers have ex­pressed their out­rage at this bla­tant at­tempt by the em­ployer and Gov­ern­ment to in­flu­ence their vot­ing on this of­fer.”

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