Teachers union slams SNP attempt to 'interfere' with pay ballot

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, has today condemned the content of a letter sent by the Scottish Government and local authority body COSLA to Scotland’s teachers.

The letter defends the proposed pay deal for Scottish teachers, and urges them to accept the offer, despite the union's position in favour of rejection.

The union has described the figures quoted in the text as "misleading", and warned against the government interfering in industrial democracy.

Commenting on the letter, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The EIS has already voiced its serious concerns over the Scottish Government and COSLA seeking to interfere in a legitimate trade union ballot by writing to teachers in this way. However, the letter - now that we have actually seen it - is even worse than anticipated. While the basic figures included in the letter are accurate, they have been laid out in a way that is profoundly misleading. The table indicating salary rises for teachers on the main grade scale creates a false impression of the proposed new salaries for teachers.”

Mr Flanagan continued: “The Scottish Government and COSLA have let themselves down in seeking to interfere in the EIS ballot in this manner. It is against the spirit of the Fair Work Convention, which both claim to champion, and adds nothing to the factual information which the EIS has already communicated in full to its members.”

Labour's education spokesperson, Iain Gray MSP added: “The way out of this dispute is for the Scottish Government and COSLA to make teachers an offer which goes some way to restoring the pay they have seen eroded year on year, and the Scottish Government to commit to providing the funding required for that."

“This is the latest example of John Swinney badly mishandling the issue of teacher’s pay. The deputy First Minister was supposed to be a safe pair of hands but he keep making a mess in education,and attempting to cut out the unions is his latest example.”

In a statement, John Swinney defended the offer as "generous", adding: "Through a combination of a 3% increase for all staff earning up to £80,000, restructuring the main grade scale and annual progression, the majority of teachers receive a rise between 5% and 11%."

"I firmly believe this is a generous and fair offer which demonstrates the value both the Scottish government and local government place on the teaching profession."

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