Scotland’s Education Secretary has made the fifth pay offer to teachers as the latest strike threat looms over the country’s schoolchildren as part of a long-running pay dispute.
Under plans announced by Shirley-Anne Somerville on Tuesday evening, teachers earning up to £80,000 would see their pay rise 6% from April 2022 and then another 5.5% from the start of the 2023 tax year. .
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union had been calling for a 10% pay increase, but Ms Somerville said the demand for an increase to that amount during the year was “unaffordable” and the latest offer was a compromise that it was “fair, affordable and sustainable for all involved”.
“The offer comes at a time of extraordinary financial pressure on the Scottish Government’s budget,” the MSP said.
“Difficult decisions will have to be made to free up the necessary resources.
“This reflects our commitment to reach a fair agreement and prevent further disruption to the education of children and youth.”
The latest pay offer will be funded by an additional £156m of taxpayers’ money, and the Scottish government said in April that most teachers would see their pay rise by 11.5% if the deal was accepted.
Ms Somerville called on unions to expose the deal to members and urged them to suspend planned actions while they did so.
The EIS will hold special meetings of its salary committee and executive committee on Wednesday.
The union said it would discuss a response to the offer and any possible implications for planned industrial action in Scotland’s schools.
If the union does not call off the strikes, the strikes will continue next week.
In their strike schedule, which has been ongoing since November, workers will demonstrate in the Glasgow Southside constituency of Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as well as in the Perthshire North area represented by Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney.
Ms Somerville’s constituency would also be targeted, and national strikes had also been planned for February 28 and March 1 along with 20 days of rolling strikes from March 13 to April 12.
Katie Hagmann, a resource spokeswoman for Cosla, said council umbrella group leaders were clear that it was “in everyone’s interest, especially children, youth and families, to wrap up teacher pay negotiations as soon as possible. any way we can to bring stability and certainty back to our schools.”
“We are determined to provide a fair and affordable salary offer to all of our employees, including teachers,” he said.
“In that regard, following today’s meeting, the leaders have agreed to give me the mandate to make a new offer to the Scottish Teachers’ Bargaining Committee and we hope this will be acceptable to them.”
Under the two-year deal, those earning more than £80,000 would see a £4,800 increase in 2022/23 and a £4,400 increase in the following financial year.
The Scottish government said the deal would bring the starting salary for a fully qualified teacher to £37,719 after the probationary period.
Earlier on Tuesday, Andrea Bradley, the EIS general secretary, kept open the prospect of a two-year salary deal.
She said that “while the Scottish government has less leeway and flexibility this financial year, they have much more leeway for the next financial year given that they have powers to raise revenue, given that they have political priorities to decide on.”
But, he told the BBC, there would have to be “a significant move in the 5% that has been on the table since August” and told the broadcaster it was an offer teachers had “overwhelmingly” rejected twice. .