School strikes: Scottish teaching union ‘hopeful’ of new pay offer imminently

A Scottish teaching union has voiced hope of a breakthrough in the ongoing pay dispute before the weekend.

Talks have been ongoing this week between the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the Scottish Government and local authority body Cosla in a bid to reach a new offer.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday morning that she is hopeful a new offer will be on the table by the afternoon.

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The union launched its pay campaign, calling for a 10% increase, in May last year.

Teachers from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union take part in a rally outside the Tramway in GlasgowTeachers from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union take part in a rally outside the Tramway in Glasgow
Teachers from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union take part in a rally outside the Tramway in Glasgow

Last month, both the EIS and NASUWT unions rejected an offer that would see a 6 per cent increase for all staff earning up to £80,000 backdated to April 2022, and a further 5.5 per cent rise from this April.

The new offer is expected to be a 7 per cent rise this financial year until April, then a 4.5 per cent increase from April to December this year, and a further 2 per cent increase from January to August next year, however this has not yet been formally tabled.

Ms Bradley said: “We don’t have an offer until the employer makes one, and as we understand it Cosla leaders this afternoon will be considering a proposal.

“If there is agreement, we are very hopeful an offer will be with us this afternoon.”

On whether strike action planned for next week would be postponed while a deal is discussed, she said: “Not without an offer, we have to have an offer in order for that to be possible. We’ve been very clear with the Scottish Government and Cosla about that.

“Our members have been committed to resolution and hopefully what comes across from employers (on Friday) afternoon lead our members to be in a position where they believe that is possible.”

Following a meeting of Cosla leaders on Friday, the EIS salaries committee is then ready to meet, and a meeting of its executive is then planned an hour later.

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“We got to a place over the course of this week’s negotiations that got us into a better space than we had been prior to that,” Ms Bradley added.

She said she is hopeful the offer is a “strong enough improvement” for EIS members to be consulted on it.

“What we’ve been saying consistently in the negotiations is what we really need to see in order to bring a resolution to the dispute is an offer that is credible enough to put to our members, with the salaries committee recommending acceptance of that,” she said.

Speaking on the same programme, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said he is “very optimistic” the pay dispute can be resolved on Friday, but he warned cuts will have to be made elsewhere to allow him to fund the new offer.

“The Government has obviously got to find the money to support that, so I’m having to take on, in the last few weeks of this financial year, additional financial pressures,” he said.

“Quite simply, there will be programmes and projects that will not be going ahead because I’m having to take the money from those projects to put into the teachers’ pay deal.

“That’s got to be done because I want to resolve the teachers’ pay deal, but that’s not without its consequences for other areas of Government activity.”

Mr Swinney said he would now look to see what could be cut to balance the Scottish Government’s budget within the next month.



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