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Nicola Sturgeon urged to intervene in teachers' pay dispute before strike action

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was yesterday urged to intervene in the teachers’ pay dispute before children’s education is disrupted for the third year in a row.

Teaching union the Educational Institute for Scotland last week rejected a five per cent pay offer and will now ballot its members on industrial action.

The union, which represents 80 per cent of Scotland’s teachers, gave the deal the thumbs down in a consultative ballot, with
91 per cent indicating a willingness to take strike action.

Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Michael Marra said: “The Scottish Government must now intervene directly and immediately to avoid strike action.

“The chaos of the recent bin strikes could have been avoided had Ministers come to the table earlier. Those lessons must be learned if wide-scale disruption from school closures is to be averted.

“Mass school closures would be hugely disruptive for families and workplaces.

“The pandemic meant ever more work for teaching staff who were left to bail out the SNP Government’s repeated mistakes with ever more hours worked.

“We know that our kids’ education has really suffered in recent years – we still have no plan from the SNP to make up for the lost learning experienced by so many. Further disruption must be avoided.”

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said rejecting the offer was “an important step in the continuing campaign for a fair pay settlement for Scotland’s teachers”.

She added: “Scotland’s local authorities and the Scottish Government must significantly up their offer to Scotland’s teachers if strike action is to be avoided.”

Ballot papers will be issued on October 12, with voting open until November 8. If the ballot is in favour of industrial action, teachers could strike before Christmas which may hit prelim exams.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Strikes are in no one’s interest – least of all pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.

“This Government has a strong record of support for teachers. It is disappointing that unions have rejected the latest pay offer. It is for local authorities, as the employer, to make a revised pay offer.”

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