Teaching union sets date for potential strike action

Scotland’s largest teaching union has announced the date of potential strike action.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) revealed on Thursday its members had rejected an improved pay deal from employers by 57% to 43%.

Local government body Cosla offered a 9% increase, with a further 3% next year, to be funded with Scottish Government cash.

More than four-fifths (81%) of eligible members took part in the ballot, with the union having demanded a 10% pay rise.

The executive committee of the union has now announced it will hold a ballot for strike action on March 11, with a walkout potentially following on April 24.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “The vote – 57% to reject the offer against 43% to accept – was a decisive one and leaves both the Scottish Government and Cosla in no doubt as to the mood of members and both our ability and willingness to move to strike action if that is what is required to generate an acceptable offer.”

Thousands of teachers and their supporters marched through Glasgow in October as part of their campaign for a larger pay hike.

Education Secretary John Swinney previously said: “The offer put to teachers is the best pay deal in the UK for any public sector worker.

“A large number of teachers voted to accept the offer, which clearly demonstrates the advantages they saw in the deal.

“This strong offer remains on the table. Industrial action in any of our schools would not be in the interest of teachers, young people or parents.”

Gail Macgregor, education spokeswoman at Cosla, previously said the offer was “at the absolute limits” of what councils could afford.

She said: “We absolutely value the education of our young people and throughout these negotiations have re-iterated the value we place on our teachers and the work that they do.

“That is why a very fair offer, at the absolute limits of what we could afford, was presented to our teachers and I am disappointed with today’s rejection.

“Industrial action in our schools is in nobody’s interests and it is for this reason we will continue to engage as positively as we can with Government and the trade unions.”