The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is balloting members after they rejected a “wholly inadequate” 5 per cent pay offer.
It follows a recent consultative ballot, where 94 per cent of EIS members voted to reject a 5 per cent pay offer and 91 per cent said they would be willing to move to strike action.
The union is urging members to vote yes to strike action in the postal ballot, which opened today.
EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said: “In opening this statutory ballot for strike action today, the EIS is acting in the best interests of Scotland’s teaching professionals.
“We had hoped not to get to this point, but a series of much delayed and sub-inflation level pay offers from the employers have angered our members and forced this move towards strike action.
“Our members responded magnificently to our recent consultative ballot, turning out in huge numbers to reject the wholly inadequate 5 per cent pay offer and to indicate a strong willingness to take strike action in pursuit of a fair settlement.
“The statutory ballot that we are opening today will provide us with a clear mandate to commence a programme of strike action later this autumn, should no satisfactory offer have been received by the time the ballot closes next month.”
EIS members have until 8 November to use their vote.
Ms Bradley added: “The EIS is urging its members to vote Yes for strike action, so that we can secure another overwhelming result that will make Cosla and Scottish Government think hard about the kind of improved offer that they need to bring to the negotiating table if strike action by teachers is to be averted.
“The growing cost of living crisis is impacting on people across the country, and our members are not prepared to accept a sub-inflation level pay award that represents a deep real-terms cut to their pay.”
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and the Scottish Government said they were disappointed the offer has been rejected.
A Cosla spokesman said: “Scottish Local Government values its entire workforce, including teachers.
“The offer being made is one that not only can be afforded with the additional monies being provided, but critically enables councils to protect education services and those other services that support its effective running.
“Along with Scottish Government, we are disappointed that the teaching unions have rejected it. Accepting the offer of 5% would have meant that teachers received a cumulative pay increase of 21.8% since 2018.
“For example, a teacher on point 5 of the main grade scale would have seen their annual salary increase from £36,480 at the start of 2018 to £44,454 from April 1 2022.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Strikes are in no one’s interest – least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.
“This Government has a strong record of support for teachers and are proud to have the best paid workforce of anywhere in the UK.”