Despite New Pay Offer, Teachers Continue Strike

Secondary school teachers in Scotland have rejected a 5% pay offer from Cosla, the local authority body, with 70% saying they would back strike action without an improved deal. The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said 80% of its members turned down the proposal. The negotiations come during a cost-of-living crisis caused by rising inflation and soaring energy prices.

 

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Cosla has also been locked in an industrial dispute with the Scottish government over school funding. The government was “committed to supporting a fair pay offer for teachers”. According to the SSTA, the 5% offer would have increased the average teacher’s pay by just £350 a year. The union is calling for a 10% pay rise for all teachers.

 

SSTA general secretary Ann Ballinger said: “This vote for industrial action demonstrates the level of anger and frustration felt by teachers at being offered a pay rise that does not even cover the cost of living.”Ms Ballinger added that the government needed to “act now” to resolve the dispute and prevent industrial action.

 

The Scottish government said it would “continue to work constructively with Cosla and other local authority bodies to deliver fair outcomes for employees”.

 

A spokesperson said: “We have been very clear that we expect any pay award for teachers to be affordable and sustainable and to strike the right balance between rewarding our excellent teaching workforce and ensuring value for money for taxpayers.”

 

In addition, the spokesperson said the government had “already committed over £51 million to support a fair pay award for teachers this year”.

 

The SSTA has not yet announced when strike action might take place. However, Ms Ballinger said the union would be “ballotting members in the coming weeks”.

 

If industrial action goes ahead, it will likely disrupt schools and cause inconvenience for parents and pupils. However, the SSTA has said that it would give “sufficient notice” of any action so that alternative arrangements could be made.

 

The dispute comes at a time of heightened tension between the government and Cosla over school funding. Last week, Cosla president Alison Evison warned that local authority budgets were “unfit for purpose”. Ms Evison said: “This is not about a pay rise for teachers; it is about the future of our children’s education.”

 

The government has said it is “fully committed” to providing the necessary funding for schools. However, Ms Evison has called on ministers to “put their money where their mouth is”. According to the SSTA, the 5% pay offer would have increased the average teacher’s pay by just £350 a year. The union is calling for a 10% pay rise for all teachers.

 

SSTA general secretary Ann Ballinger said: “This vote for industrial action demonstrates the level of anger and frustration felt by teachers at being offered a pay rise that does not even cover the cost of living.” Ms Ballinger added that the government needed to “act now” to resolve the dispute and prevent industrial action. The Scottish government said it would “continue to work constructively with Cosla and other local authority bodies to deliver fair outcomes for employees”.

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A spokesperson said: “We have been very clear that we expect any pay award for teachers to be affordable and sustainable and to strike the right balance between rewarding our excellent teaching workforce and ensuring value for money for taxpayers.” In addition, the spokesperson said the government had “already committed over £51 million to support a fair pay award for teachers this year”.

 

The SSTA has not yet announced when strike action might take place. However, Ms Ballinger said the union would be “ballotting members in the coming weeks”. If industrial action goes ahead, it will likely disrupt schools and cause inconvenience for parents and pupils. However, the SSTA has said that it would give “sufficient notice” of any action so that alternative arrangements could be made.

 

The dispute comes at a time of heightened tension between the government and Cosla over school funding. Last week, Cosla president Alison Evison warned that local authority budgets were “unfit for purpose”.Ms Evison said: “This is not about a pay rise for teachers; it is about the future of our children’s education.”

What do you think of the government’s response to the dispute? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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