A SECOND Scottish teaching union has threatened industrial action to secure above inflation pay rises for school staff.
A survey conducted by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) found 96 per cent of members were prepared to take industrial action with 64 per cent saying they were prepared to strike.
Earlier this month, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) also threatened industrial action in schools, warning that a below inflation pay rise would be “unacceptable”.
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The warning comes after more than a decade of pay erosion for the teaching profession as a result of wider public sector pay restraint following the financial crash of 2007/08. The EIS estimates the decline at some 13 per cent.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has committed to lifting the one per cent public sector pay cap and providing for a three per cent pay rise for NHS staff, police, teachers and others earning up to £30,000 with two per cent for those earning more than £30,000.
However, councils have questioned whether the rises are affordable for their employees arguing they face real terms cuts in funding.
There is further pressure on deal after the Scottish Government sanctioned a move in the college sector to establish salary levels for unpromoted lecturers at £40,000.
The SSTA, which surveyed 1,359 members, found that 77 per cent were not content with the 2017 pay increase and 89 per cent did not believe it would encourage teachers to remain in the profession.
A further 68 per cent of teachers said they were considering or had considered a career outside of teaching, while 50 per cent were expecting a “substantial” pay offer in 2018.
Seamus Searson, SSTA general secretary, said: “The SSTA member survey highlighted the lack of recognition and the unhappiness of the teaching profession.
“Although pay is critical in retaining teachers the never ending workload is pushing many teachers away from the profession and it is very worrying in a time of teacher shortage that so many teachers have considered or are considering leaving the profession.
“The government must see its priority to retain the experienced teachers we have now, but this will only be achieved with a substantial pay rise in 2018 and a radical change to cut teacher workload.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Industrial action in our schools would not be in the interest of anyone, least of all pupils and parents.
“This government was the first in the UK to commit to lift the one per cent public sector pay cap, and the teachers’ pay deal for 2017/18 reflects this commitment.
“This deal also commits members of the SNCT to undertaking a strategic review of pay and reward to ensure teaching remains an attractive career, and we will play our part in those discussions.”
A spokesman for council umbrella body Cosla said: “As employers we endeavour to ensure that the pay deals we reach within all our bargaining groups are fair and also sustainable.”
The 2018/19 pay settlement for Scotland’s teachers will be decided by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), which includes members from teaching organisations, councils and the Scottish Government.
Last month, a backdated deal on teachers’ pay for 2017 was reached, including a one per cent pay rise backdated to April 2017, and a further one per cent uplift from January until the end of March 2018.
A major report on education systems around the developed world last year found the value of pay for secondary staff in Scotland was ranked 19th out of 37 countries compared to eighth in 2007.
The survey report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) concluded: “In contrast to the general trend across OECD countries, teachers’ statutory salaries in … Scotland were worth less in real terms than they were in 2005.”
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