98 Percent of teachers reject Scottish Government pay offer

Despite pressure from the Scottish Government, an overwhelming majority of EIS members have rejected the COSLA pay deal.

The EIS and other teaching unions, submitted a pay claim of 10% for the year. The offer from the Scottish Government and COSLA was based on a 3% cost of living increase for teachers and associated professionals, plus some additional changes to the main grade pay scale for unpromoted teachers.

The rejection comes on the back of a letter sent by Education Secretary, John Swinney, to teachers asking they accept the deal as "the best possible offer"

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Last month, Scotland’s teachers sent a strong message to the Scottish Government and COSLA, about the deep discontent amongst the profession, when well over 30,000 took to the streets of Glasgow to march in support of the EIS Value Education, Value Teachers pay campaign."

"Today’s near unanimous rejection of the pay offer is a landmark result, one of the strongest rejections of an offer in EIS history, and one which is indicative of the current mood of Scotland’s teachers, increasingly agitated on pay but angry also at excessive workload, mainstreaming on the cheap, and austerity driven cuts to resources. EIS members are sending a very clear signal to the Scottish Government and COSLA with this ballot result, that change is needed.”

EIS President Alison Thornton, added, “Teachers have shown patience and restraint over the past decade, and indeed during the long-running negotiations on the 2018 pay offer. But this result demonstrates clearly that Scotland’s teachers have had enough; and are demanding action. We hope that Mr Swinney and COSLA are paying attention. Despite the attempt by the Scottish Government and COSLA to ‘persuade’ teachers to accept this divisive pay offer, our members are united and absolutely determined to secure a fair pay settlement for all teachers and associated professionals. The EIS continues to hope for a negotiated agreement, but we are fully prepared to ballot for industrial action should this be necessary to secure a fair deal. We urge the Scottish Government and COSLA to return to the negotiating table with a greatly improved offer, before it is too late.”

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Iain Gray said the result was "humiliating" for the government.

"John Swinney was supposed to be a safe pair of hands in the education brief. Instead teachers took to the streets to march against his pay deal while he desperately tried to circumvent trade unions by attempting to cut them out of the process." he added.

"The simple fact the SNP will not acknowledge is that you cannot close the attainment gap between the richest and the poorest children in our classrooms with overworked and underpaid teachers. John Swinney now needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with an offer teachers deserve."

A Scottish government spokesman said it had worked with Cosla "to put in place the best pay deal in the UK for 2018-19 and our joint letter accurately explains the component parts so that teachers have a full understanding of the proposals on the table".

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