Thousands of Scots teachers demand 10% pay rise
THOUSANDS of teachers from across Scotland staged an upbeat rally in the heart of Glasgow yesterday to demand a 10 per cent increase in pay for the profession.
The colourful event, which marched from Kelvingrove Park, gathered in the city’s George Square where speakers from the teaching union Educational Institute of Scotland rallied members. A bright yellow theme of placards, T-shirts, tammies, balloons and dog coats emblazoned with “value education, value teachers” was prominent among those who had gathered.
Teachers’ feelings were stoked on stage by EIS leaders who demanded a 10 per cent increase in wages and urged Education Secretary John Swinney to “pay up”.
“We’ve got a message for John Swinney. If you want to talk to teachers, talk to our union because that’s who represents us.” The march yesterday morning snaked its way from the west end to the heart of Glasgow.
Teachers from Shetland, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh and Ayrshire were among the marchers led by a pipe band.
A 40-year-old high school teacher from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, who was among the marchers, said: “I’ve seen a big difference in pay and conditions.
“We are expected to do far more work than our contracted hours.
“I hope our voices are heard because this is not just about value in education but value for children.”
The mother-of-two, who asked not to be named, brought along her four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son to the rally. She added: “I hope that especially when they get to high school, we will have good teachers on decent money. The teaching profession is now reaching crisis point.”
Although temperatures were on the chilly side, bright sunshine ensured that a good mood prevailed throughout the event which had a small police presence.
The teachers regularly broke into chants of “What do we want 10 per cent. When do we want it now!”
A primary teacher in her 40s from north Glasgow was among a group of female teachers who joined in with the upbeat mood of the event. She said: “I agree with a pay rise it would be great if that can be achieved. For years there’s been a lot of talk about reducing the workload, but for me it’s more about respect. Teachers need to be respected.”
EIS branches from across Scotland were represented.
Homemade banners and flags were also commonplace among the sizeable crowd. One read: “Nicola: We made education #1 priority. Did ye, aye?”
Organisers estimated 20,000 people took part in the march.
The union has been calling a 10 per cent rise for teachers.
A pay offer which would have seen all teachers receive a rise of three per cent was rejected last month. The EIS will open a ballot of its members on Tuesday, calling on them to reject the current offer. The ballot closes on November 20.
Swinney said: “We want teaching to be a rewarding career choice – to keep people in the profession and to attract new entrants – and that is why the Scottish Government is contributing an additional £35 million this year for teachers’ pay.”