Teachers 'free to decide' on strike action in long-running pay dispute

Written by Gemma Fraser on 10 January 2019 in News

A special meeting of the EIS teaching union will take place on Saturday after a pay agreement failed to be reached 

Image credit: EIS

The first national teachers’ strike since the 1980s is one step closer after the latest offer in a long-running pay dispute was rejected.

A revised offer was made earlier this week, which was an amended version of the proposal made in December resolving “some anomalies”.

But the teachers’ panel of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) rejected the offer and registered a ‘failure to agree’, paving the way for possible strike action.

However, despite rejecting the offer, the panel confirmed it is still willing to engage in further discussions with the Scottish Government and COSLA if an improved offer is made.

An email to members of the EIS teaching union stated: “What this means is that in the absence of an improved offer from COSLA, the EIS Council is free to decide on moving to a statutory ballot for strike action.

“In an attempt to agree a settlement, the Teachers’ Side has proposed options which would improve the offer for all teachers, but it remains to be seen if these will be taken up. We confirmed our willingness to meet again, as and when required.

“Members have been extremely patient over a pay claim which was due last April. Clearly, that patience has its limit.”

A special EIS council meeting has been arranged for this Saturday to decide on the next stages, which could be a move to a statutory ballot for industrial action if no further offer is made by then.

 Education Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government and local authorities have made an improved pay offer which, including increases as a result of restructuring the pay scale, would see teachers receiving a minimum eight per cent increase between January 2018 and April 2019 with a further three per cent in the third year of the proposed deal.

“This is a better deal than for any group of public sector workers in the UK and we urge the teaching unions to put this to their members for approval. We are engaging positively with the unions and discussions will continue this month.”

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