Calls for a 10% pay rise are expected to dominate as Scotland’s largest teaching union gathers for its annual general meeting next week.
Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) will meet in Dundee for three days from Thursday with a campaign for an increase in pay at the top of the agenda.
The union wants a 10% pay rise for all teachers in 2018, with talks with the Scottish Government and councils ongoing through the tripartite Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).
Earlier this year members of the teachers’ side of the SNCT rejected an offer of a 2% or 3% pay rise, which is in line with the Scottish Government’s pubic sector pay policy.
Speaking ahead of the AGM, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “This year’s event comes in the middle of a major EIS campaign on teachers’ pay in which we are challenging the Scottish Government and local authorities to demonstrate that they value education and value teachers.
“While we have a total of 86 motions to be debated at this year’s AGM - covering a wide range of education, equality, employment relations, salaries and organisational matters - it is the issue of teachers’ pay that is set to dominate the AGM this year.
“Following more than a decade of austerity and real-terms pay cuts totalling more than 20%, teachers have simply had enough and are not prepared to accept it any more.
“Our Value Education, Value Teachers campaign and our call for a 10% pay increase for all teachers in 2018 will be the recurring themes throughout the AGM, and will be brought into sharp focus with our national demonstration in Dundee city square at noon on Saturday.
“The message to local authorities and the Scottish Government is clear - if you truly value education, you also need to value teachers by paying them a professional salary.
“The delivery of a 10% pay increase for all teachers this year is an essential first step to restoring teachers’ pay to an appropriate level, and starting to address the teacher recruitment and retention problems facing schools across Scotland.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We value teachers highly and are providing £112 million this year to fund councils to maintain teacher numbers, including the recent teacher pay award.
“Our ambitious reform programme, together with the recent announcement of bursaries of £20,000 for career changers to train in priority subjects, are focused to ensure teaching remains an attractive career.
“Teachers’ pay is a matter for the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) and negotiations for 2018-19 are under way. The Scottish Government will play its part in those discussions, and we urge everyone around the table to take a constructive approach. It should be noted this government was the first in the UK to commit to lift the 1% public sector pay cap.”