Scottish secondary teaching union announces two days of December strike action

Secondary school teachers will take two days of targeted strike action next month in a dispute over pay, their union has announced.

Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) members were balloted for strike action after rejecting a 5 per cent pay offer, and 90 per cent voted for strike action on a turnout of 62 per cent.

The SSTA said that members in some local authority areas will strike on Wednesday December 7 while others will walk out on Thursday December 8.

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Teachers will take two days of targeted strike action next month in a dispute over pay, their union has announced.
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Catherine Nicol, SSTA president, said: “The executive committee felt it had no option, but to move to strike action due to the failure of the employers [Cosla] and the Scottish Government to make an improved pay offer.

“The last pay offer was made on the August 19 and was quickly rejected by the teacher unions. Despite a series of engagements, not even one more penny has been put on the table.

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“Teachers have had enough of fine words and are being forced to take strike action to achieve an improved pay award.

“I hope the Scottish Government will step up and help to avoid teacher strikes that nobody wants”.

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Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary, said the strike action was intended to send a “clear message to Cosla and Scottish Government that teachers are serious about a fair pay deal”.

He said: “This common practice of waiting to the last minute to reach a pay agreement shows a complete lack of respect for teachers as this pay award should have been paid in April.

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“Teachers pay has fallen in real terms by 25 per cent over the years and the failure to act promptly only adds to teachers’ frustration”.

The strike action on December 7 will affect Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Western Isles, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Renfrewshire, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

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On December 8, SSTA members will strike in Aberdeen, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Falkirk, Fife, Midlothian, Moray, Perth and Kinross, the Scottish Borders, Stirling and West Lothian.

The Scottish Government and Cosla have been asked for comment.

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Scottish Conservative spokesman Stephen Kerr said SNP ministers must “pull out all the stops” to ensure a deal is struck.

He said: “This announcement of strikes by the SSTA is another hammer blow for the pupils and parents affected, coming hot on the heels of planned industrial action by the larger EIS.

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“These strikes have been looming large ever since the last pay offer was rejected by teaching unions in August, yet the education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has been missing in action when she should have been trying to thrash out a deal.

“Pupils suffered massive disruption to their education during the pandemic and they can ill-afford to miss out on more classroom time now as they try to catch up.”

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