15 February, 2023
By Lucy Ashton
A special meeting of the EIS Salaries Committee, held online, has unanimously rejected the latest revised pay offer from the Scottish Government and COSLA.
The new offer, announced in the media yesterday before it was given to teaching unions, offers only a marginal improvement on previously rejected offers. As a result, the EIS will reject the offer and continue with its current programme of strike action until a more credible offer is put onto negotiating table.
Commenting this afternoon, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “This is another inadequate offer to Scotland’s teachers, which was unanimously rejected by the EIS Salaries Committee earlier today.
“The 6% value of the offer for 2022-23 is insufficient, with CPI inflation currently sitting today at 10.5%. The 6% offer for this year is only 1% less of a pay cut than that previously offered, twice, by the Scottish Government and COSLA.
“Teachers have already lost more than 1% of their salaries through being forced into strike action so, essentially, teachers already more than paid for this revised offer themselves. This is just yet more smoke and mirrors from the Scottish Government and COSLA in attempting to make this offer appear more generous than it actually is.”
Ms Bradley continued, “The suggested year two component of 5.5% hasn’t been negotiated via the appropriate forum, the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), at all. Indeed, teaching unions haven’t even submitted our pay claim for 2023/24 yet, as a consequence of the current dispute.
“In attempting to tag on next year’s pay settlement, without any negotiation at all, the Scottish Government and COSLA are attempting to tie the hands not just of teacher trade unions but all public sector unions – and this is unacceptable to the EIS.”
Ms Bradley added, “The conduct of the Scottish Government and COSLA in this process has been equally unacceptable. From dragging the process out interminably, to seeking to create divisions both between different grades of teachers and different groups of workers, to seeking to bypass the agreed negotiating processes and sharing information on pay offers with the media before sharing them with the trade unions representing teachers – these have not been good-faith actions.
“Their emphasis throughout has been on spin rather than genuine attempts to reach an agreed pay settlement through proper negotiation.”
Ms Bradley said, “As a result of the clear decision to reject this offer, taken by our Salaries Committee today, our Executive Committee has also unanimously agreed that the current programme of strike action will continue as scheduled.
“The EIS remains, as ever, willing and available to engage in further discussions with both the Scottish Government and COSLA, through the appropriate forum within the SNCT, to attempt to reach a resolution to this dispute.”
The EIS has emailed its members this afternoon, advising on the decisions to reject the offer and continue with strike action and the reasoning behind those decisions.
Responding to the news that the EIS Salaries Committee has “unanimously rejected” the government’s pay offer, describing it as “smoke and mirrors”, meaning that strike action in Scotland’s schools will continue, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured left, said: “Teachers care deeply about their pupils and the last thing they want to do is close the gates, but this government has left them with no other option.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have calculated that Scotland’s school pupils have now lost 2.1 million days of education due to strike action, which is set to double if an agreement is not reached.
“To get Scottish education back on track, we need to get the basics right. That means boosting pay and conditions for staff, permanent contracts, creating more time for lesson planning and cutting class sizes so that pupils get the support they deserve.”