The annual pay settlements of public sector workers, including teachers, have been capped at a maximum of 1% for five years. Prior to the 1% pay cap, a 2 year pay freeze was imposed on teachers and other public-sector workers.
This 7-year long squeeze has led to a substantial decline in real-terms pay over the past decade, with significant implications for the recruitment and retention of highly qualified graduated into the teaching profession.
Commenting, ahead of today's Westminster debate on the Queen's Speech, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The removal of the damaging and counter-productive public sector pay cap is long overdue.
"It is deeply regrettable that the UK Government seems to have backtracked on the potential removal of the pay cap, having openly briefed yesterday that the UK-wide pay cap was set to be lifted. It is now time for the Scottish Government administration, whose MPs voted for the removal of the pay cap at Westminster yesterday, to take a lead and set a positive example by scrapping the pay cap north of the border.
"For Scotland's teachers, who have suffered a real-terms pay reduction of around 16% since 2003, the removal of the pay cap would be a very welcome move. With schools struggling to fill vacancies, and with teacher workload continuing to rise, it is essential that Scotland's teachers are given a pay rise and salary levels which more accurately reflect the very important work that they do and the benefits they bring to society."
Mr Flanagan added, "The continuing political debate over the removal of the pay cap comes at an interesting time for our teachers, as the EIS is currently in the midst of negotiations with local authorities and the Scottish Government regarding this year's pay settlement - which was actually due to be paid in April.
"We have already rejected a 1% offer from the employers' side, and argued strongly that the decline in teachers' pay must be addressed as a matter of urgency if we are to halt a major recruitment crisis in the profession.
"While the UK Government currently retains its pay cap, the Scottish Government has control over public sector pay policy in Scotland and has the financial powers to end the cap for the country's public-sector workers.
"The EIS will continue to pursue this vigorously via the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) once the negotiations reconvene after the summer break. We are clear that Scotland's teachers need and deserve a fair pay rise this year and significantly improved salaries in the years ahead."