Scotland’s largest teaching union rejects pay offer and moves to ballot on strike action
Members of Scotland’s largest teaching union have voted against accepting a renewed pay offer and are instead moving towards strike action, the EIS has confirmed.
More than half of its members – 57 per cent - voted to reject the offer in a ballot which had an 81 per cent turnout.
Members also agreed to move to a statutory ballot for industrial action, which could see the first national teachers’ strike since the 1980s.
The ballot, which ran for three weeks, closed at 5pm on Thursday. The result was announced after members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) agreed to accept the pay offer.
The EIS executive committee, which is due to meet on Friday, will consider the ballot result and approve the next steps to be taken.
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: “EIS members have voted, by a very clear majority, to reject this pay offer.
“They have also expressed their willingness to move to a ballot for industrial action in pursuit of an improved pay settlement for Scotland’s teaching professionals.
“Although this was not a strike ballot, both the turnout and the number indicating a willingness to move to industrial action would have exceeded the strict thresholds set by the UK government in its restrictive Trade Union Act.”
He added: “Our Value Education, Value Teachers pay campaign has been led by EIS members since its inception.
“Our members have now rejected the latest pay offer and, tomorrow, our member-led executive committee will meet to agree the next steps in our campaign for a pay settlement acceptable to Scotland’s teaching professionals.
“The EIS remains open to further negotiations within the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers but failing an improved offer, we will be initiating the process towards strike action.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The offer put to teachers is the best pay deal in the UK for any public sector worker. It would see every teacher receive a minimum 9% pay increase by April this year with a further 3% next year.
“Two out of the three trade unions balloted on this offer have voted in favour and the EIS decision is by a relatively narrow margin. A large number of teachers voted to accept the offer which clearly demonstrates the advantages they saw in the deal.
“This strong offer remains on the table. Industrial action in any of our schools would not be in the interest of teachers, young people or parents.”
Commenting on the result of the EIS ballot, Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said: "This ballot result comes as councils across the country have been forced to set budgets that increases the pressure on teachers with £230 million worth of cuts to core funding.
"Nobody wants to see industrial action in our schools but this is a result of the SNP's mismanagement of schools over the years, and a failure to listen to legitimate concern of teachers over the erosion of pay and the increase in workload.
"John Swinney needs to start listening properly to teachers now, and come up with an acceptable offer which shows he really does value teachers and that education actually is this government's top priority."