Teacher pay offer ‘fair’, insists First Minister
The First Minister has defended the pay offer made to Scotland’s teachers, insisting it was “fair” and “recognises the impact” of the cost-of-living crisis.
The most recent offer – the fourth one made to the unions – was rejected yesterday by the EIS.
The union described the offer as “wholly unacceptable” and said it made “no tangible improvement” to previous ones.
Ministers were also criticised by Labour MSP Michael Marra for making that offer at the “last possible moment” and for not conducting further negotiations since the union announced last week that teachers would strike for 16 consecutive days next month.
Nicola Sturgeon said the education secretary remains in “regular dialogue” with the unions and the government is going to “every length possible” to reach a deal.
She defended the last offer, adding it was on par with the offer which had “already been accepted by other local government workers”.
She said: “I have nothing but admiration for our teaching profession. They are rightly paid higher than other workers in other parts of the local government workforce, but the offer in terms of a pay increase that has been made to teachers is the same as that already accepted by the janitor in a school or the dinner lady working in a school, so it is a fair offer.”
Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie accused the government of failing to treat teachers with respect.
He said: “So that’s the message to teachers: just be grateful, you’ve had your lot, you’re paid enough. That’s not the way to treat teachers in this country – playing one set of workers against another is a disgraceful way to treat those people who taught our young people through the pandemic.”
The First Minister said Rennie’s comments were “shameful”, and reiterated her belief that the offer is “fair and gives as much of an increase to teachers as the janitor and the dinner lady”.
On rejecting the offer yesterday, Des Morris, the EIS representative on the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, said: “If the Scottish Government and Cosla are truly serious about reaching a pay settlement with Scotland’s teachers – and halting industrial action in our schools – then they must come back with a much more credible, fair, undifferentiated and substantially improved pay offer for all of Scotland’s teaching professionals.”