On Thursday, the Teachers’ Side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) declared a formal dispute over the sub-inflationary pay offer made to Scotland’s teachers.
The SNCT is the tripartite negotiating body for teacher pay, and involves teaching unions, Scottish local authorities (COSLA) and the Scottish Government.
Teachers were due to receive a pay award in April, but the current offer of 1.22% was rejected by teaching unions several months ago.
Commenting, following the declaration of the dispute, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is completely unacceptable that nine months after our pay claim was submitted, Scotland’s local authorities and the Scottish Government have failed to respond with a reasonable pay settlement to Scotland’s teachers.
"The process has dragged on but, with no improved offer having been made, we have now been forced into this dispute. Teachers want to focus their energies on supporting education recovery for their students, but anger and frustration is growing over what is seen as a devaluing of the profession.”
The EIS had previously warned that the pay offer was completely inadequate and failed to recognise the value of teachers to Scotland, while also expressing its frustration at the slow rate of negotiations on the teachers’ pay claim, which was submitted in December last year.
Des Morris, EIS Salaries Convener and Chair of the Teachers’ Side of the SNCT said: “The value of Scotland’s teachers has been clearly highlighted throughout the pandemic, where teachers have worked extremely hard to support young people in quite unprecedented and extremely challenging circumstances.
"The level of public and political praise for teachers has been extremely high during this time, with frequent statements highlighting the value of teachers to the country and the essential role that education must play in supporting the national recovery from the Covid pandemic.
"In this context, the pay offer of a little over 1% that has been made to Scotland’s teachers – representing a significant real-terms pay cut – is completely unacceptable.”
Responding to the dispute, Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson commented that Scotland ‘needs ministers who are top of their brief.’
Mr Rennie said: "Teachers have worked hard throughout the pandemic to support pupils and received scant reward.
"It's ridiculous that months after teachers rejected the last offer, ministers have not found a way to get back round the table.
"Every available teacher should be focused on helping the educational recovery, without distractions.
"You'd think that having failed to make any dent in the attainment gap for years, SNP ministers would realise that too.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently argued for improving teachers’ contracts with a review of pay and conditions, a teacher job guarantee, permanent contracts and a workforce plan so the profession is secure for the long-term.
"First the nurses' union and now the teachers' union are now at loggerheads with SNP ministers. Scotland needs ministers who are on top of their brief."