Thank you for contacting me on the incredibly important issue of teachers’ pay. The latest dispute over pay is yet more evidence of the undervaluing of teachers and other key public sector workers.
Scottish Labour fully supports the right of teachers to take industrial action over their pay. Teachers are essential workers who played a vital role during the pandemic in unprecedented circumstances. But they deserve more than our appreciation, they deserve a fair pay settlement.
The SNP has presided over a period of poor industrial relations within a number of sectors in recent years. This latest pay offer by COSLA has been overwhelmingly rejected by members of EIS, Scotland’s biggest teaching union, who have now voted for industrial action.
The Government has previously issued grand statements about their commitment to education, with the First Minister previously indicating that it was her number on priority. However, this priority status for education has not been matched by the actions of her government. The SNP have done no serious analysis on the impact of the pandemic and they have no real plan for education recovery. This inadequate pay offer is indicative of the lack of priority, urgency and ambition that the Government have for our schools.
Years of financial mismanagement and a flawed fiscal framework have left Scotland’s finances in a sorry state prior to the war in Ukraine and the accompanying economic shocks. Teachers and public sector workers should not have to pay the price for SNP failure.
According to the NASUWT, teachers’ pay has declined in real terms by 10% since 2010, and teachers have reported that the latest pay offers are having an impact on their morale. The Government must get round the table with all stakeholders in this dispute to ensure that teachers get a fair pay deal and children in Scotland, who have already experienced unprecedented levels of disruption to their education in recent years, can avoid further disruption.