Because they’re worth it!

Larry Flanagan of the EIS and members of the teachers’ union.

By Lizzie Healey

School teachers started voting yesterday on whether to accept or reject an improved pay offer.

The EIS and the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) unions are balloting their members over the next three weeks.

The deal would see teachers get a series of rises worth 9% in total then another 3% rise next year.

Both unions are planning to hold strike ballots if their members reject the offer.

The EIS – by far the largest teachers’ union – is recommending that its members vote against the offer.

The SSTA is making no recommendation to its members on how they should vote.

Councils and the Scottish government argue that it is the most generous pay offer in the public sector in the UK.

It would see teachers get a series of rises worth 9% in total by this April – some of which would be backdated as they cover last year’s rise and a change to the main pay scale.  There would also be a 3% rise next year.

However, it is significantly lower than the pay claim made by the unions. They called for a 10% rise in one year, effective from last April.

Teachers’ pay is negotiated by a committee which brings together unions, the Scottish government and councils. Councils employ teachers but pay, terms and conditions are standard across Scotland.

Council leaders unanimously agreed to make the improved pay offer last Friday. The government says it will give them money to fund it.

Hours later the EIS national council narrowly voted to recommend rejecting it after rigorous discussions.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan told BBC Scotland that it was “our members who will now decide” and the union would “go with the mood of members”. But he added that members were far from satisfied that the current offer was the best one possible.”

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