TEACHING unions have signalled their backing for a deal on pay and conditions despite branding the offer “disappointing”.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said it had “reluctantly” agreed to accept the two-year pay settlement proposed by Scotland’s council leaders.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s largest teaching union, is to ballot its members on the deal but its salaries committee will recommend that members accept it.
EIS had previously threatened strike action after the failure of previous talks and general secretary Larry Flanagan said industrial action would be considered if members reject the offer.
The revised proposal is for a 1.5% increase for the financial year 2015/16 and a further 1% in 2016/17.
EIS salaries convener Tom Tracey said: “The committee is well aware of the fact that the offer is far from the restorative pay award that Scotland’s teachers deserve.
“However, given the announcement by the UK Chancellor of future spending cuts and a public sector pay limit of 1% for the next four years, the salaries committee view is that this is the best deal which can be achieved through negotiation.”
Mr Flanagan added: “Clearly, the pay element of this offer is disappointing and falls short of EIS aspirations.
“The continued austerity measures of the UK Government have created a situation where an offer of 2.5% over two years is the most that Cosla, as the employers’ side, was prepared to offer.”
SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said: “Teachers have been getting Curriculum for Excellence into classrooms over the last eight years. Throughout this time they have seen the real value of their salaries reduced.
“There is more assessment than ever. Attainment levels are rising. Record numbers of youngsters passed their Higher exams this year. It is disappointing that the value of teachers is not properly recognised.”
Both unions welcomed aspects of the offer including a pledge to address supply teaching issues, action to tackle teacher workload and a commitment from the Scottish Government to maintain teacher numbers for the duration of the agreement.
Councillor Billy Hendry, a spokesman for local government body Cosla, said: “I am delighted that we have reached an agreement and that the teachers’ unions will make a recommendation to accept the Cosla pay offer.
“We value each and every member of the local government workforce, no less so our teachers who are doing a great job delivering high-quality education to children and young people across the length and breadth of Scotland.”
The proposed settlement still needs to be agreed by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), which includes representatives of teaching organisations, councils and the Scottish Government.