SCHOOLS CRISIS: Teaching union blasts ‘wasted opportunity’ as further strikes loom

Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association said it has ‘no option’ but more strike action after failed talks

Scottish teaching union blasts latest pay discussions as ‘wasted opportunity’ ahead of further strike action

By Lucy Ashton

A teaching union has described to STV News the latest round of pay discussions as a “wasted opportunity” and warned of further strike action unless the Scottish Government puts forward a suitable offer.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said it has “no option” but to consider more strike action after pay talks between the Scottish Government, local government body COSLA and teaching unions on Thursday failed to find a resolution.

Unions have rejected a pay offer which would see most teachers receive a 5% wage rise, although the lowest earners would get an increase of 6.85%.

The SSTA and other teaching unions, including the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and NASUWT, claim “no new offer” has been made and will meet to discuss new dates next week.

Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary said: “The Scottish Government and COSLA have again failed to put an improved pay offer on the table and have blocked the path towards further negotiations.

“Despite a range of meetings in the last week with the cabinet secretary plus two ‘negotiating’ meetings of the Extended Joint Chairs no new offer has been made”.

“It is time the Scottish Government and COSLA took responsibility for the position and tried to resolve this pay dispute.

“It is evident that COSLA and the Scottish Government are refusing to listen to the view of the teachers’ Side and are happy for teacher strikes that began in November and December to extend into January and to allow further strikes to take place in the coming months”.

Catherine Nicol, SSTA President, added: “The SSTA are insisting that only a suitable pay offer that will encourage teachers to remain in the profession will be acceptable. This would attract the highest quality graduates and ensure we sustain the high-quality education system we have in Scotland: a system that is respected across Europe. However, the current lack of negotiations shows a level of disrespect to the profession”.

On Thursday evening, the EIS confirmed it will go ahead with 16 days of consecutive strike action which is set to begin on Monday.

It will see teachers at two local authorities walk out each day until February 6, and will involve all Scottish councils.

Scottish education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has insisted the 10% teachers are demanding is “unaffordable”.

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