Scotland teachers strike: No sign of pay deal as primary schools shut

Teaching unions and the Scottish government are “some distance apart” on a new teacher pay accord.

Primary schools in Scotland are closed all day due to a strike by teachers over salary.

On Monday, last-ditch discussions between unions and Scottish government officials failed to prevent a walkout.

On Wednesday, more walkouts will take place in Scottish secondary schools.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Education Secretary, claimed Monday’s talks were “productive,” but the union salary proposals were “simply unaffordable” on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland.

When asked if she expected a new offer by the end of the week, Ms Somerville answered, “We’ll continue conversations with the unions.”

“I believe the difficulty that we have is that we remain some distance apart on what the Scottish government and local government can afford and put on the table from the union demand, which is of course a 10% pay increase,” she continued.

“We’re working very hard to put together a fair and economical deal, but we’re still some distance apart.”


Mike Corbett, national Scotland official of the NASUWT union, told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The fact we are talking is progress itself but I have to say there is still quite a distance between what is on the table and what teachers are seeking for.

“The last offer was dressed up as an upgraded offer, but it remained the 5% offer that had been around for months for the vast majority of teachers.”

Mr Corbett stated that teacher pay has historically been “worsening and worsening” since 2010, which is reflected in recruiting and retention numbers.

Shocking moment wild brawl breaks out inside McDonald’s in front of kids as thugs throw punches & go flying to ground

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) stated that it is still hoping for a resolution before further strikes take place next week.

The strikes involve members of the EIS, NASUWT, Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes (AHDS) unions.

They have rejected a 5% pay increase, arguing for 10%. The latest offer includes rises of up to 6.85% for the lowest-paid staff.

The strikes are set to close almost every school in Scotland.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “It is disappointing, though not surprising, that no new offer was presented, despite some positive progress in discussions.

“The union side remains willing to talk, at any time, with a view to reaching a resolution to this dispute.

“While it is now too late to halt this week’s strike action in schools, we hope that fresh talks may take place later this week to advance discussions towards an improved offer. Only a significantly improved offer from the Scottish government and Cosla can bring an end to this dispute.”

Teachers protest outside of the Scottish parliamentIMAGE SOURCE,PA MEDIA
Image caption,

Teachers protested outside of the Scottish parliament during November’s walk out

The strike comes after the largest Scottish teachers’ strike in decades in November.

The majority of state-school teachers in England and Wales will receive a 5% wage increase in 2022. Many teachers in Northern Ireland have been awarded 3.2% for the years 2021/22 and 2022/23.

However, unions claim that if inflation exceeds 10%, these increases amount to salary cutbacks.

Members of teaching unions in England and Wales are voting on wages.

In Northern Ireland, teachers from five unions are continuing to take action short of a strike, disrupting meeting attendance and administrative work.