Turning over Stones and "Strenuous Effort" Have yet to Lead to New Teacher Pay Offer

Created on: 19 Jan 2023 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

The ongoing dispute over teacher pay was discussed at First Minister’s Questions today, following a question from Stephen Kerr MSP in the Holyrood Chamber.

The First Minister responded that the Education Secretary was doing "everything possible" to reach an agreement and was making "strenuous efforts" in discussions with teaching unions.

Responding to the comments this afternoon, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, "The Cabinet Secretary said recently that she would 'leave no stone unturned' in her effort to reach a fair pay agreement with Scotland’s teachers.

"Today, in Parliament, the First Minister has lauded the Cabinet Secretary's 'strenuous efforts' in negotiations. Sadly, neither the apparent strenuous efforts nor the turning over of stones have yet led to an improved pay offer to Scotland’s teachers."

Ms Bradley continued, "The teachers’ pay claim for 2022 was submitted almost a year ago. That claim was for a 10% increase in pay.  At that time, inflation was at around 7%. Inflation for the year subsequently hit over 11% on the CPI measure late last year, with RPI inflation peaking at more than 14%.

"Yet, the Scottish Government and COSLA have consistently offered only a 5% settlement to teachers – massively below the rate of inflation and, therefore, a deep and painful real-terms pay cut for Scotland’s teachers."

Ms Bradley added, "The First Minister continues to make some highly questionable claims about the level of pay settlements paid to teachers in recent years, and misleading comparisons to teacher pay in other countries.

"The First Minister has glossed over the more than 20% cut in the real-terms value of teacher pay in Scotland since 2008 while, also, skirting around the fact that inflation peaking at 14% has wiped out years of pay settlements at a single stroke. Ms Sturgeon also fails to acknowledge experienced teachers at the top of the pay scale are paid less than in many other OECD countries, including England."

Ms Bradley concluded, "The reality is that our members are not prepared to accept the sub-inflation 5% that has repeatedly been offered, and only a substantially improved offer from the Scottish Government and COSLA can end this dispute. Strike action will continue until that improved offer is on the table for our members."