Teachers in Scotland vote overwhelmingly to strike in dispute over pay
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Teachers in Scotland have voted to strike in a dispute over pay. Teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) on Thursday (November 10) announced the results of its statutory ballot on the issue, with 96 per cent voting in favour of strike action on a turnout of 71 per cent.
The union balloted members after they rejected a five per cent pay offer which was described as "wholly inadequate". It said that its members are neither willing nor able to accept a "deep real-terms cut to their pay" amid the cost-of-living crisis.
EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: "This ballot result provides the EIS with an extremely strong mandate for strike action over pay. Our members have sent yet another very clear message to their employers in Scottish local authorities and to the Scottish Government that they must do better on teachers' pay."
"Our members should have received a pay increase in April but, after months of unjustifiable dither and delay from Cosla and the Scottish Government, we are still waiting for an acceptable offer to be made. Quite frankly, our members have had enough of waiting and enough of feeling the financial strain of the cost of living on top of the significant stress of their teaching jobs."
She said: "A move to strike action is always a last resort, but our members have become increasingly angry over their treatment by their employers and by the Scottish Government. The last pay offer, a sub-inflation five per cent, was rejected by Scotland's teachers almost three months ago. Since then, there has been no new offer made, despite a strong desire on the part of teachers for a fair deal to be struck."
Ms Bradley said, with the cost of living soaring and prices of food and fuel, housing and heating continuing to climb ever higher, EIS members are "neither willing nor able to accept a deep real-terms cut to their pay". A special meeting of the EIS executive committee will be held on Thursday afternoon to agree the next steps to be taken in the EIS pay campaign, including an initial programme of industrial action in schools.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "The Scottish Government and Scottish local government value the teaching workforce. We recognise the vital importance of reaching a fair and affordable resolution on pay, both for the workforce during a cost-of-living crisis, and for the pupils and parents who rely on the vital services our teaching workforce deliver.
"We are absolutely committed to working together to support a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers and to avoiding unnecessary strike action and the disruption that would cause. Strikes in our schools are in no-one's interest – least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years."
It comes just a day after nurses in Scotland and across the UK voted to strike for the first time ever. The national action by RCN members threatens to seriously disrupt NHS care with ambulance staff and junior doctors also in talks to strike over the winter.
Meanwhile in Edinburgh, tram workers have also threatened strike action over a pay deal unions described as a “broken promise”. And rail services have been disrupted by strikes which were called off last minute by the RMT union.
Additional reporting by PA.