Scottish teachers halfway through strike programme

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triking teachers will gather outside the cottage where Robert Burns was born as an ongoing program of regional action is halfway through.

As Scots celebrate Burns’ birthday, members of the EIS gather outside Burns Cottage in Alloway in Ayrshire.

Teachers in both South Ayrshire and Edinburgh are on strike on Wednesday – as the union’s 16-day strike program is halfway through.

As well as gathering at the famous cottage, educators will take part in a gathering in the Scottish capital, which will be addressed by EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley.

It comes amid an increasingly entrenched pay dispute, with unions claiming the Scottish Government and councils have “little or no interest” in finding the funding needed to resolve the issue.

With the current offer on the table, most teachers would receive a 5% raise, although some lower paid staff would receive a 6.85% raise.

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Teachers rejected this, with MI demanding a 10% raise. However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stressed that there is a “gap” between what teachers demand and “what is affordable”.

However, Ms Bradley said that “there still exists in Scotland a miscalculation of the strength of our members’ resolve”, as well as a “misappraisal of the moral and financial unacceptability of another real pay cut for teaching staff”.

Now that the EIS has written a letter to the National Education Union expressing solidarity with teachers in England and Wales who have voted to strike, Ms Bradley said: real contempt for them, dressed in warm words and sophistry, that despite the deliberately restrictive anti-union legislation that remains in effect, our respective unions were able to beat voting barriers and reach mandates for industrial action.

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She advised politicians south of the border against “dividing teachers and support staff” in schools over the issue of pay, saying that “for all its claims about its union-friendly credentials, the Scottish Government is shamefully trying to do this” .

Scottish Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Strikes in our schools are in no one’s interest – not even for pupils, parents and carers who have already experienced significant disruption over the past three years.

“I continue to urge education unions to reconsider current union actions while negotiations are underway.”

She said four offers had been made to teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) – which brings together the Scottish Government, Cosla local authority leaders and trade unions – but had been rejected.

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However, Ms Somerville said the latest offer, if accepted, “would have represented a cumulative 21.8% increase in teachers’ salaries since 2018”.

She stressed: “The union’s demands for a 10% increase for all teachers – even the best paid – are not affordable within the Scottish Government’s fixed budget and a more pragmatic approach is needed before we can reach a compromise .

“The Scottish Government appreciates the hard work our teaching staff put in for our students and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring they receive fair pay.

“We will continue to engage with unions and hope they will continue to move towards a compromise to ensure a sustainable deal for all involved.”

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