Teaching union suspends strike action and urges members to accept new deal

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A teaching union has urged members to accept a new pay offer presented by the Scottish Government.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union made the announcement it is to ballot its members on a revised pay offer that was presented by local authority employers, with a recommendation that the offer should be accepted.

Some 20 days of rolling strikes had been planned by the EIS across Scotland, targeting every local authority north of the border between March 13 and April 21.

Industrial strike
Teachers from the Educational Institute of Scotland union take part in a rally (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A special meeting of the EIS Salaries Committee, comprised of teachers from across Scotland, took place on Friday and it was unanimously agreed to ballot members on the new offer.

The Committee agreed to recommend that members vote to accept the new pay offer.

Subsequent to the decision of the Salaries Committee, a special meeting of the EIS Executive Committee agreed to suspend all planned industrial action while members are consulted on the offer. The online ballot opens today and runs until March 10.

Commenting, EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “The view of our negotiators is that this deal represents the best that can be achieved in the current political and financial climate without a much more prolonged campaign of industrial action.”

The new offer will see teachers getting a 12.3% increase by April 2023, and it will rise to 14% by 2024.

She added: “It is through the determination and collective action of teachers and associated professionals across Scotland, led by EIS members, that we have improved this pay offer from an initial 2% for the current year to 7% for the current financial year, with additional increases of 5% and then 2% within the following financial year.

“This has been a long dispute which has been challenging for all concerned. Teachers have taken strike action as a last resort, and that strike action has delivered an improved pay offer that the EIS can credibly put to its members with a recommendation to accept. It is now for our members to decide whether to accept this offer, and it is our recommendation that they should do so.”

Responding to the decision by the EIS union to suspend strike action while a new pay offer is put to members, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I welcome the EIS’s decision to suspend industrial action while they consider this offer.

“This will end the disruption to learning for our children and young people particularly in the run up to exams.

“We have worked closely with the unions to compromise and have arrived at a deal which is fair, affordable, and sustainable for everyone involved. The Scottish Government is supporting this deal with over £320 million of funding this year and next.

“I would urge teaching union members to accept this historic pay offer which would see teacher pay increase by 33% since January 2018.

“This is the best and final offer possible and recognises the invaluable contribution teachers make to the lives of our children and young people.”

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