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Teachers overwhelmingly reject pay offer, as strikes set to close Schools

The nationwide strike that threatened to close schools is now scheduled to take place the following week

After rejecting the most recent conditions put forth by the Scottish Government and local authority body COSLA, thousands of teachers will leave the classroom next week.

With another 16 days of action scheduled to begin early in the new year, it means that hundreds of schools could once again be in danger of closing in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The proposed salary increase was labelled “wholly unacceptable” in a statement by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), the body for pay negotiations for teachers.

The offer, which included a wage increase of up to 6.85%, offered “no real improvement” for personnel, according to Des Morris, chair of the organization’s teachers panel, and left some worse off than before.

A fully certified teacher’s beginning pay would have been £35,650, with a 5% raise for those at the top of the scale.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, the secretary of education, praised the offer as “fair,” but the Educational Institute of Scotland rejected it right away (EIS).

All of Scotland’s teaching unions, which represent teachers in all fields and at all levels of employment, agreed to reject COSLA and the Scottish Government’s polarising offer, according to Mr. Morris.

“In rejecting this proposal, we have highlighted the lack of improvement on the previous offer, which was itself rejected unanimously some three months ago. In addition to offering no tangible improvement, this proposal is also worse for many experienced teachers in promoted posts compared to the previous offer.

He added: “If the Scottish Government and COSLA are truly serious about reaching a pay settlement with Scotland’s teachers – and halting industrial action in our schools – then they must come back with a much more credible, fair, undifferentiated and substantially improved pay offer for all of Scotland’s teaching professionals.

“The offer that we have rejected unanimously today is neither credible nor fair, nor does it make any tangible improvement to the previously rejected offer. The united message from Scotland’s teaching unions and Scotland’s teachers is clear – the Scottish Government and COSLA need to stop the spin and get back to the negotiating table with a fair, credible and substantially improved, undifferentiated pay offer.”

The 16 days of industrial action will take place between January 16 and February 6 across the country, with different local authority areas taking different days of strike.

The plans would see teachers in two local authorities on strike on each of these sixteen days.

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