Teachers in Scotland are set to strike on an additional 16 days in the row over pay, the EIS union has said. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has said teachers will take action on 16 consecutive days in January and February. Teachers in two local authorities will strike on each of the 16 days.
The union also confirmed it would move ahead with its previously announced strike days on 10 and 11 January. It comes after teachers across the country went on strike on 24 November. The further days of action will start – unless a deal is agreed before then – on 16 January and is due to last until 6 February.
General secretary Andrea Bradley praised theteachers who took part in the first strike on Thursday, saying they had been angered by the conduct of the Scottish Government and local authority body Cosla in presenting their latest offer.
National strike days will also take place on 10 January for teachers in primary and special schools, as well as early years, and on 11 January for those working in secondary schools and secondary special schools.
The Scottish Government submitted a pay offer to teachers earlier this week which was summarily dismissed by the unions. Under that proposal, teachers earning under £40,107 would receive an increase of £1,926 per year – 6.85% for those on the lowest salaries – while those on more would get 5%. The action comes amid a raft of strikes around the UK this winter, including walkouts by train drivers.
What has the EIS said?
Announcing the latest action, Ms Bradley said: “The EIS will move ahead with our previously announced two additional days of national strike action in January.
“We can also now confirm that Scotland’s teachers will strike on 16 consecutive days in January and February, with teachers in two local authorities on strike on each of these 16 days.
“We have been forced into the escalation of this action by the lack of willingness to negotiate properly and to payteachers properly, by a Government that says it wished to be judged on its record on education.
“The judgment of Scotland’s teachers on the matter of pay is clear, with the first programme of national strike action that we have engaged in for four decades.
“It is now for the Scottish Government and Cosla to resolve this dispute, and prevent further strike action, by coming back to the negotiating table with a substantially improved pay offer for all of Scotland’s teaching professionals.”
The government has insisted it has no more cash for pay offers, with Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville saying any increase in funding would have to come from elsewhere in the budget. The EIS has been pushing for a minimum of a 10% increase. The schedule of the dates over the further 16 days and the local authorities affected are:
- East Lothian
- Perth and Kinross
- North Ayrshire
- North Lanarkshire
- East Dumbartonshire
- East Ayrshire
- Dumfries and Galloway
- East Renfrewshire
- South Ayrshire
- West Dumbartonshire
- West Lothian
- Argyll and Bute
- South Lanarkshire
- Western Isles
What has the Scottish Government said?
Education Secretary Ms Somerville said: “It is very disappointing that the EIS has rejected the latest offer, which is fair and progressive and mirrors the deal accepted by other Local Government workers.
“The latest offer – the fourth which has gone to unions – would have meant a 21.8% cumulative increase in teacher pay since 2018. The starting salary for a fully qualified teacher would be £35,600. That’s £7,650 more than their counterparts in England.
“It is simply unaffordable to have a 10% increase which unions are asking for within the fixed budget which the Scottish Government is working in.
“I recognise the strength of feeling within the unions but they also need to recognise that the Scottish Government budget is fixed and is already committed. any new money for teacher pay would have to come from elsewhere in education.”