Scottish schools face strike action as crunch talks break down

The prospect of Scotland's schools being hit by strike action this year has edged closer after crunch talks today broke down without a deal.

Scotland's biggest teaching union, the EIS, now says it will move to ballot its members on strike action on Monday of next week.

General Secretary Larry Flanagan branded the absence of any new pay offer "unfortunate" after a meeting of the Extended Joint Chairs of Scottish Negotiating Meeting for Teachers (SNCT) aimed at resolving the current impasse over pay and conditions.

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No further meetings of the negotiating meeting are planned, although teachers insist they remain open to more talks.

Members of the EIS rejected a pay offer from councils and the government earlier this month by 57% to 43%.

The offer is for a series of rises worth 9% by April plus a 3% rise next year.

Mr Flanagan continued: “The lack of any new offer is unfortunate, following last week’s more positive discussions.

It will be disappointing if the Scottish Government and COSLA spurn the opportunity to avoid industrial action, but once again it looks as though EIS members are going to have to demonstrate just how deep the discontent within Scottish Education has become.

“Pay is one issue: beyond that we have excessive workload; lack of support for pupils with ASN; pointless paperwork; growing class sizes and diminishing resources; and teacher stress levels going through the roof. "No-one wants industrial action, but Scotland’s teachers feel compelled to make a stand."

COSLA’s Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said: “We absolutely value the education of our young people and throughout these negotiations have re-iterated the value we place on our teachers and the work that they do.

“That is why a remain at the table and that is why we remain hopeful of a resolution."