Where do the par­ties stand?

The Herald on Sunday - - THE WEEK -

If EIS mem­bers get 10 per cent, why should it be lower for those in the GMB, Unite and Uni­son?

Cosla’s po­si­tion on “par­ity” – which roughly means staff groups re­ceiv­ing the same in­fla­tion pay in­crease – is note­wor­thy in this re­spect. Swin­ney could solve one prob­lem by of­fer­ing a 10 per cent rise to teach­ers, but in the process trig­ger strike ac­tion by the other unions which would want the same for their mem­bers.

Stur­geon her­self raised this point on Thurs­day by say­ing that “all pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers have suf­fered be­cause of years of pay re­straint”.

Con­sider the range of staff who work in schools as part of the wider “teach­ing fam­ily”. If Swin­ney agreed to a 10 per cent rise for teach­ers, heads on £70,000 would get a £7,000 boost. By con­trast, the lower-paid class­room as­sis­tants, clean­ers and school tech­ni­cians would get three per cent in one year. It would be a tough sell for any Gov­ern­ment that claims to be­lieve in fair­ness.

As Fi­nance Sec­re­tary be­tween 200716, Swin­ney had a knack for pro­duc­ing cre­ative so­lu­tions to a range of prob­lems in­volv­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment. He will need to be po­lit­i­cally nimble if he is to solve the puz­zle of the teacher pay dis­pute.

Class­room pay


Point 0 (pro­ba­tioner) Point 1

Point 2

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Point 6 Head­teach­ers and deputy heads

Can earn be­tween and Pay rises for teach­ers are a mat­ter for the Scot­tish Ne­go­ti­at­ing Com­mit­tee for Teach­ers, not Holy­rood, but op­po­si­tion par­ties can ap­ply pres­sure on the Gov­ern­ment.

The Scot­tish Greens have been most vo­cal in back­ing the unions’ de­mands for a 10 per cent rise and party co-con­vener Pa­trick Harvie has brought the is­sue to the cham­ber on more than one oc­ca­sion.

Rais­ing the re­sult on the con­sul­ta­tive bal­lot last week, in which nearly 98 per cent of teach­ers who took part re­jected a three per cent deal, he said: “None of us needs a maths teacher to help us to un­der­stand those num­bers. “Can the First Min­is­ter re­call a more over­whelm­ing demo­cratic man­date from any sec­tion of the Scot­tish work­force?”

Labour has also been sup­port­ive of the call for a restora­tive pay award. MSP Iain Gray, a former teacher, was highly crit­i­cal of the Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to write to teach­ers di­rectly over the three per cent of­fer.

He also com­pared the SNP Gov­ern­ment to pre­vi­ous Tory ad­min­is­tra­tions, say­ing: “The last time Scot­land’s teach­ers were an­gry enough to go on strike Mar­garet Thatcher was still prime min­is­ter, I was a school teacher, the First Min­is­ter was a school pupil and some of the 98 per cent of cur­rent teach­ers who have just re­jected the pay of­fer were not even born.” The Con­ser­va­tives, who have backed pay re­straint at a UK Gov­ern­ment level, have not sup­ported a 10 per cent rise. The Lib­eral Democrats de­scribed the bal­lot re­sult as an “ex­traor­di­nary and bru­tal re­buke” to Swin­ney and have called for a “fair deal” and an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert re­view.

Swin­ney could solve one prob­lem by of­fer­ing a 10% rise to teach­ers, but in the process trig­ger strike ac­tion by the other unions which would want the same for their mem­bers

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