Scottish teachers at halfway point in strike schedule

Striking teachers will gather outside the cottage where Robert Burns was born as an ongoing program of regional action reaches its halfway point.

As the Scots celebrate Burns’ birth anniversary, EIS members will gather outside Burns Cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire.

Teachers in both South Ayrshire and Edinburgh are going on strike Wednesday as the union-organised 16-day program of strike action hits its halfway point.

In addition to meeting at the famous country house, educators will attend a rally in the Scottish capital to be addressed by Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary.

It comes amid a deepening dispute over wages, with unions claiming that the Scottish Government and councils have “little or no interest” in finding the funding needed to solve the problem.

The current offer on the table will allow most teachers to receive a 5% pay increase, while some low paid staff will receive a 6.85% increase.

The teachers refused, with the EIS requesting a 10% increase. However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted there was a “gap” between what teachers demand and “affordable”.

However, Ms Bradley said that “miscalculations continue in Scotland about the strength of our members’ resolve” and “an incorrect assessment that another real-time salary cut for education staff is morally and financially unacceptable”.

In a letter from the EIS to the National Education Union to express solidarity with the teachers who voted for strike action in England and Wales, Ms Bradley said: “Despite the anti-union law in effect, our respective unions have been able to pass the ballot threshold and carry out industrial action instructions, real contempt for them, adorned with warm words and sophistication.”

He advised politicians south of the border not to “try to separate teachers and support staff” on pay in schools, adding that “the Scottish Government is embarrassingly trying to do so, despite all its claims about union-friendly credentials.” Do this”.

Scottish Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The strikes at our schools are not in anyone’s interest, including students, parents and carers who have had to deal with significant disruption over the past three years.

“I continue to encourage unions to reconsider current industrial action as negotiations continue.”

The Scottish Government said four offers were made to teachers through the Scottish Teachers’ Negotiation Committee (SNCT), which brings together local government leaders and unions in Cosla, but these were rejected.

However, Somerville said that if the latest proposal were accepted, it would “mean a cumulative 21.8% increase in teacher salary since 2018.”

He insisted: “The union’s demand for a 10% increase for all teachers – even the highest paid – is not affordable within the Scottish Government’s fixed budget and a more pragmatic approach is needed before a consensus can be reached.

“The Scottish Government values ​​the hard work our teaching workforce does for our students and we are absolutely committed to ensuring that they receive a fair wage agreement.

“We are continuing our discussions with the unions and hope that they will continue to move towards a compromise to ensure a sustainable agreement for all concerned.”

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