TEACHERS’ STRIKE: All secondary schools will close amid strikes

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie joins strikers demonstrating at the Scottish Parliament. Teachers from the EIS union have already staged walk-outs

Councils are still working out what impact next week’s action may have and are still to confirm arrangements.

Almost all schools in Scotland were closed on Thursday last week because of a strike by EIS, the largest education union.

The SSTA and the NASUWT are holding strike action next Wednesday and Thursday. They plan to target different council areas each day.

Responding to the news that teachers have formally rejected the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP, right,  said:  “Scottish pupils have faced enormous disruption to their education as a result of the pandemic. The last thing they need is more of that because of the strikes, but teachers can only be pushed so far.

“This latest raft of strike action is happening because the SNP have neglected education year after year. Teachers have gone above and beyond, but the Education Secretary has barely lifted a finger.

“The Scottish Government needs to resolve this dispute as swiftly as possible. Education will never be a priority for the SNP, but I want to reassure teachers that Scottish Liberal Democrats are firmly on their side.”

Argyll and Bute Council says Campbeltown Grammar School will be closed but expects that its other secondaries will be open to some pupils.

West Dunbartonshire Council expects all its schools to remain open.

Other councils are still to confirm their arrangements but hope to be able to do so in the next few days.

Which council areas will be affected?

The local authorities affected by the SSTA and NASUWT strike on 7 December include Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire.

The local authorities affected by the SSTA and NASUWT strike on 8 December:

In general, next week’s strikes are not expected to lead to the complete closure of large numbers of schools because the SSTA and NASUWT have far fewer members than the EIS which represents about 80% of teachers.

The teachers’ unions want a 10% pay rise.

The latest pay offer – tabled last week – would see a rise of between 5% and 6.85% for teachers on the main teachers’ pay scale.

Details of pay offer

Rises would be capped for those earning above £60k – principally some heads and deputes.

The so-called “differentiated” pay offer is a problem for the unions. Although they want a bigger rise for all their members, they also want to maintain differentials between teachers on different grades – in part to help ensure that people want to take up promoted posts.

No formal talks are currently scheduled between employers and the teachers’ unions.

Teachers are employed by councils but their terms and conditions are consistent across Scotland. Councils get much of their money from the Scottish government and any pay offer has to be affordable to both the government and all 32 of Scotland’s councils.

Graph showing teachers' pay scales in Scotland, 2022

The Scottish government has argued that a bigger pay rise for teachers would mean cuts and savings elsewhere in education budgets.

If the dispute is not resolved, further strike action is planned by the EIS in January.

First there will be a national strike spread over two days – one day will target primary schools, the other secondaries.

Then a rolling programme of strikes will begin on 16 January. This rolling programme will see strikes in primary and secondary schools in two different council areas each day over the course of 16 consecutive school days. The first of these 24-hour strikes will take place in Glasgow and East Lothian.

Over the course of the EIS action in January and early February, each school will face two days of strike action. The union is not singling out individual schools or council areas as it did during the long-running teachers’ dispute in the mid-1980s.

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