Teachers due to strike over pay

By Cara Houston

Scotland’s largest teaching union has given approval to open a strike ballot over pay rises.

Teachers across Scotland have been negotiating a pay rise for over a year with no successful outcome. The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) have issued a formal notice of the planned ballot to all local authority employers across Scotland, with ballot papers to be provided next month.

Last week, EIS rejected the latest pay offer of nine per cent from the Scottish Government and Cosla (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.) However, John Swinney, Education Secretary said that the offer was “a better deal than for any group of public sector workers in the UK”.

John Swinney also tweeted on Saturday after the news of a possible strike.

Swinney has also said:

“The Scottish Government is prepared to to improve it’s offer around main grade restructuring and revaluation of all other SNCT pay scales. The Scottish Government will provide the extra funding, which is in addition to the local government settlement.”

The settlement that was due to be settled last April has exhausted teachers patience and faith in the Government.

Unions claim that teachers pay has fallen 20 per cent in the past decade. They believe that a significant pay rise is needed to show that teachers are valued and to boost recruitment and retainment.

A local primary school teacher, who has been in the job for five years, explained why she thinks teachers deserve a pay rise:

“The starting salary for a teacher is good and for the first six years you get a pay rise each year. However, after seven years your pay is capped but you are expected to take on much more responsibility. This means we are unable to progress unless we take a promotion. The cost of living has gone up and continues to do so while our pay is capped, so yes I think teachers are underpaid and deserve a pay rise.”

She continued: “a strike is the only thing we can do now because we have tried negotiating and tried other methods to get a pay rise but none of these methods have worked. We were initially offered a two per cent pay rise then it went up to three per cent, yet police got a 6.5 per cent pay rise last year, so i think it’s the only thing that will make them take it seriously now.”

With teachers now choosing to teach abroad after their first probation year more and more teachers need to be recruited. Miss Gunning said: “abroad teachers don’t need to pay National Insurance, tax or pension. But we have to pay all of these, which means we either need a pay rise or for the Government to change their expectations on teachers, because the curriculum is always changing but our pay is staying the same.”

Ross Greer, the Scottish Green Party’s education spokesman has said:

“Teachers are overworked, under-resourced and have suffered a 20 per cent real terms pay cut. They will continue to have Green support in their campaign for fair pay.”

UWS News went to Twitter to find out if the public agrees that teachers should get a wage rise.

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