Teaching unions are set to strike next week, shutting schools across the country, unless a pay deal can be struck
By Lucy Ashton
Teachers have returned to talks with the Scottish Government aimed at ending a pay dispute days before further strike action is due to take place.
Education minister Jamie Hepburn, right, said the latest deal to be proffered by Holyrood, which would see the lowest earning educators receive a 6.85% wage rise, was “very fair,” despite teaching unions turning down the offer.
Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), NASUWT and SSTA trade unions, who are due to strike next week, are pressing for 10% but Hepburn insisted that was “unaffordable”.
Asked directly if teachers would be offered more money, the minister said a “very fair and affordable offer” had been made.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he stressed rising inflation meant the Scottish Government budget was now worth less than when it was set, adding that the requirement on ministers to ensure a balanced budget meant that “we don’t have fiscal latitude”.
Speaking about the proposal made to teachers, Mr Hepburn stated: “If you actually look at what we have offered, it is 6.85% uplift for the lowest paid teachers, 5% for most and £3,000 for those earning £60,000 or more.
“That would represent a 21.8% cumulative pay increase for most teachers since 2018.
Asked if this was the final offer, Mr Hepburn stated: “Discussions will continue, but this is a fair and fundamentally an affordable offer and it would ensure that teachers in Scotland remain by some measure the best paid teaching staff in the UK.
“We want to make sure we have that edge for teachers in Scotland and the offer we have got on the table would ensure that.”
Labour MSPs Jackie Baillie and Paul O’Kane pictured supporting teachers outside the Scottish Parliament.