Created on: 02 Feb 2023 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023
The Salaries Committee of the EIS has highlighted that the First Minister has it within her power to bring an end to the current dispute over teacher pay.
This follows a question at First Minister's Questions in Parliament today, where the First Minister said that she "very much hoped" that a resolution to the pay dispute could be reached "soon".
Commenting following a meeting of the EIS Salaries Committee this afternoon, where the ongoing dispute over pay dominated the agenda, EIS Salaries Convener Des Morris said, "While the EIS Salaries Committee very much shares the First Minister's 'hope' that a resolution to the pay dispute can be reached 'soon', we would also point out that the ability to settle the dispute is very much within the First Minister's power.
"The only thing that will settle this dispute is an improved offer to Scotland's teachers, one that is both fair and affordable to them, which will involve additional new money from the Scottish Government.
"This is what was done to settle disputes with other local government workers. It is the First Minister who has ultimate control over the purse strings so, if she wishes this dispute to be settled soon, the First Minister should authorise the Cabinet Secretary and her officials to release the comparatively modest additional funding needed to end this dispute."
Mr Morris continued, "The truth is, that little or no progress has been made towards an agreement for several months. There are currently no further pay negotiations scheduled within the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).
"Negotiating meetings through the SNCT have become profoundly frustrating affairs, as Scottish Government negotiators are coming into talks with their hands effectively tied and with no additional money to offer. We have been extremely clear that the current 5% offer on the table – which was itself simply a repackaging of a previously rejected 5% offer – will not be accepted by Scotland’s teachers.
"We have now rejected sub-inflationary 5% offers twice, and underlined this rejection through three days of strike action by most EIS members, so only a fresh offer which is good enough to put to our members for consideration can hope to halt strike action in our schools."
Mr Morris added, "As ever, the EIS remains ready and willing to re-enter discussions with the Scottish Government and Scottish local authorities to discuss a new pay offer for teachers.
"We are not, however, willing to continue discussing the same offer that has now been rejected by teachers twice. The Scottish Government and COSLA must come up with an improved offer to allow pay discussions to progress towards an agreement that genuinely reflects both the soaring cost of living and the value of Scotland's teachers."