Scottish teachers must be prepared to accept a “fair” and “realistic” pay deal, not the unaffordable 10 per cent rise unions are demanding, the First Minister has said. The Scotsman reports.
Nicola Sturgeon said she recognised the “strength of feeling” there was on the issue, after a ballot by Scotland’s largest teaching union saw 98 per cent vote to reject the wage offer.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard challenged her on the issue after two unions voted overwhelmingly against the offer that has been made by councils and the Scottish Government.
Education Secretary John Swinney has already said that while teachers are being offered a 3 per cent pay rise across the board, restructuring of the main pay grade scale, combined with other changes will mean most would receive a rise of between 5 per cent and 11 per cent.
In a ballot 98 per cent of EIS union members rejected that, with 97 per cent of members of the SSTA teaching union who took part in a vote also opposed.
Mr Leonard said: “The First Minister wants to be judged by her record on education, so let’s examine that record – it’s a record of austerity, which even SNP councillors now admit is going too far.
“How can education be your top priority with underfunded schools and undervalued teachers?”
Labour’s Iain Gray, a former teacher, said: “The last time Scotland’s teachers were angry enough to go on strike Margaret Thatcher was still prime minister, I was a school teacher, the First Minister was a school pupil and some of the 98 per cent of current teachers who have just rejected the pay offer were not even born.”
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