Nicola Sturgeon ‘committed to addressing public sector pay concerns’

The First Minister has said that she recognises the pain faced by public sector workers, with teachers preparing to march in Glasgow on Saturday.

Teaching unions want a 10% rise and rejected a headline offer of 3% earlier this month, describing it as “divisive”.

Ms Sturgeon said that the offer made by the Scottish Government and council body Cosla was generous and fair.

Teachers’ pay is negotiated by a committee which includes the unions, councils and the Scottish Government.

In his appearance at First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie called on the Scottish Government to increase funding for education and councils.

“The loss of three and a half thousands teachers since 2007 and the reliance on temporary contracts for so many newly recruited teachers is having a direct impact on the quality of education,” he said.

“The consequences of getting this wrong won’t just be unhappy teachers, perhaps even forced to the point of industrial action. Holding back teachers’ pay and squeezing the budgets of our local councils will prevent the educational improvements that I do believe the First Minister wants to see.

Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie

“If we want the excellent public services this country deserves, we need to make the resources available.”

An immediate 6.5% pay increase for Scottish police officers was confirmed last month.

The First Minister said: “We are committed to fair pay rises for all of our public sector workers.

“Where we have already agreed deals, I think we have demonstrated that. I do believe that this is a generous and fair offer and hope that it will be considered in such a way but we are committed to continuing negotiations in good faith.

“We absolutely recognise that public sector workers have taken a lot of pain through pay restraint in recent years and we are committed to redressing that as quickly as we can.

“We all want to see teachers properly rewarded for the excellent job that they do – for their sake, but also so we can continue to attract new people into the profession in the years to come.”