Union leader throws down the gauntlet on teacher pay

In a barnstorming speech to cap off the conference of Scotland's largest teaching union, Educational Institute of Scotland General Secretary Larry Flanagan has said that he is looking for a landmark settlement from the Scottish Government to make up for a decade of falling real pay.

Over the course of the last decade, real pay for teachers in Scotland has fallen by over 20 per cent, while it has risen in almost every other OECD country. The EIS is demanding no less than a 10 per cent pay rise from the Scottish Government, which given deteriorating conditions in the profession seems only fair.

Mr Flanagan told delegates, “Teachers are looking for a landmark settlement from this campaign and we expect the Scottish Government to meet our demands. Teachers have delivered over and over again, despite the constant change, despite the ever-increasing workload and despite the impact of austerity on reducing teaching resources and undermining services – it is time for Scottish Government to do the same and deliver a fair pay increase for teachers.”

“Why? Because graduates can earn more in less stressful jobs, with better career progression opportunities. This isn’t campaign rhetoric; it is hard cold fact. And, at the other end of recruitment we have a retention challenge – a record spike in teachers aged 44-55 exiting the profession. If the recruitment and retention challenge isn’t faced up to – and our pay campaign is predicated on facing up to it – we will read more stories about undergraduates being pulled in to support Maths classes and letters sent home to parents asking for help in staffing classrooms. So, Scottish Government and Cosla, if you think 10% is unaffordable – consider the alternative.”

So far, the Scottish Government has made no sign of giving in to the demand, but the EIS has made sure they government know they're able and willing to use industrial action. Mr Flanagan finished off his speech by making overtures in this direction, making it clear that sympathetic noises are not enough, and that the union will work to persuade members to 'put an X in the Yes box when the question is asked.'

You can read the full speech here.

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