Strikes threatended after Scots teachers reject latest pay deal

EIS members have voted to reject the latest pay offer from Scotland’s local authorities and the Scottish Government, and will tomorrow discuss a move to an industrial action ballot. 

The teaching union has consulted members over the last three weeks, with 57 per cent of members voting to reject the offer in the union's ballot which closed today with a turnout of 81 per cent.

The EIS say their executive committee will meet tomorrow to discuss their next steps, including the possibility of organising a ballot on whether members would support industrial action.

General secretary Larry Flanagan said members had voted overwhelmingly against the offer currently on the table: "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 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."

Flanagan was clear that although the union remained open to further negotiations, they would move to strike action should a better off for teachers not be brought forward.

Commenting on the results of the ballot, Scottish Labour's education spokesperson 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."

Although the result is bad news for the Scottish Government, John Swinney recieved some light relief after members of the smaller Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association voted to accept the deal.

Scottish council umbrella body Cosla were dissapointed in the vote, and insisted that the offer on the table was "very fair" and was at the limits of what they could afford.

Image: Kim Traynor

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