Created on: 22 Feb 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023
There has been a strong turnout from teachers on picket lines, as members of the EIS step up their ongoing programme of strike action in a dispute over pay.
Teachers have started three days of targeted strike action, aimed at politicians in key decision-making positions, in Glasgow Southside (Nicola Sturgeon), Perthshire North (John Swinney), Dunfermline (Shirley-Anne Somerville), and Clydebank & Milngavie (Ross Greer).
Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, "Our members have again displayed their strong commitment to securing a fair pay settlement by turning out in large numbers on picket lines today.
"This escalation of action, targeted at politicians with the ability to end this dispute, has been necessitated by the continuing refusal of the Scottish Government and COSLA to offer Scotland's teachers a fair pay deal. We are taking this action reluctantly, and with a heavy heart, but after more than a year of waiting for an acceptable pay offer, Scotland's teachers have simply run out of patience.
"We want to see this dispute settled, and could call off further strike action immediately, if the Scottish Government and COSLA offer an acceptable pay deal."
Ms Bradley also responded to comments made by the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, in an interview this morning, and said, "It is indefensible that education, including the pay of teachers, has been underfunded for many years.
"It is also indefensible that teachers have been compelled by a government that claims a commitment to fair work to take a fourth day of strike action in pursuit of a fair pay settlement. Schools have been starved of funding and resources, and the number of teachers and support staff employed across Scotland has declined – placing ever more pressure on already overburdened teachers.
"Teachers have been subject to many years of real-terms pay erosion, and this has been brought to a head by the current cost of living crisis with RPI inflation hitting more than 14%.
"The Scottish Government was given ample warning that teachers would expect a fair pay increase this year, but has dragged the process out for more than a year with little progress towards a fair deal."
Ms Bradley added, "It is only with the threat of action targeted at decision makers within the Scottish Government and COSLA that any recent progress has been made. While the revised offer that was made was inadequate, offering only a marginal increase on the previous unacceptable offer for 2022/2023, the fact that the offer was improved at all has destroyed the Scottish Government's argument of a supposedly fixed budget tying its hands.
"It was also confirmed yesterday that the Scottish Government is receiving an unexpected extra £146M from the UK Government in funding consequentials. The Scottish Government's attempt to tie in next year's pay settlement to the overdue settlement for this year is a piece of disingenuous political chicanery.
"As the current Finance Secretary and a former Education Secretary, Mr Swinney should know how negotiations on teacher pay work – those negotiations are properly held via the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, not through spin and soundbites in the media."
Further information on the targeted strike action, and the schools impacted by the action, can be found here.