Pay Negotiations: Pending pay award from April 2018
Statement from the Teachers' Side (following a Teachers' Panel meeting on 6 December 2018)
The Teachers' Side of the SNCT - comprising all teaching unions in Scotland - met on 6 December to discuss a range of issues including the current pay negotiations. All parties agreed to the issuing of the following statement:
SNCT TEACHERS’ PANEL IN WARNING TO COSLA AND SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ON PAY
The Teachers’ Panel of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) has today (Thursday) warned COSLA and the Scottish Government that time is running out to deliver a fair pay offer to Scotland’s teachers. A revised pay offer was anticipated at an SNCT negotiating meeting earlier this week, but COSLA and the Scottish Government brought nothing new to the table. Their previous pay offer, based on a 3% cost of living increase, was overwhelming rejected by Scotland’s teachers in recent ballots by teacher unions.
Commenting following today’s Teachers’ Panel meeting, EIS Salaries Convener and Teachers’ Side Chair Des Morris said, “The Teachers’ Panel today expressed their anger that COSLA and the Scottish Government had failed to bring any new proposal to the negotiating table this week. Teachers’ side negotiators have been very clear on the timetable for negotiating on this year’s pay deal, which was due to be paid to teachers in April. Following many months of protracted negotiations, and with the year itself almost over, we have reiterated to both COSLA and the Scottish Government that a substantially improved offer must be made in December. Should no acceptable offer be made, a move to industrial action ballots by teachers’ unions will become inevitable.”
Mr Morris added, “It is simply unacceptable for COSLA and the Scottish Government to seek to drag this process out any further. They also cannot fall back into the old tactic of blaming each other, or others, for the lack of progress in making a new offer. Responsibility for negotiating with teachers’ representatives on pay lies with the Scottish Government and, equally, with COSLA as the representative of Scotland’s local authorities. The recent national demonstration and overwhelming ballot results have shown that Scotland’s teachers are absolutely steadfast and completely united. They will not be fooled by continued stalling or by a blame game between local and national government. It is time for COSLA and the Scottish Government to deliver, or force Scotland’s teachers into ballots on industrial action in pursuit of a fair pay settlement.”
No new offer (Updated 3 December 2018)
At today's SNCT meeting the Teachers' Side was advised that there was no amended offer on the table.
It is expected that a revised offer will be available after the CoSLA Leaders meeting on 14 December - which will follow on from the announcement of the Scottish Government budget on 12 December. There are some indications that a revised offer may take the form of a multi-year deal though no details are yet available.
Another SNCT meeting (Extended Joint Chairs) has been arranged for the afternoon of Monday 17December.
SNCT discussions continue (Updated 26 November 2018)
The SNCT joint chairs met on Wednesday 21 November when the Teachers Side representatives shared the results of their ballots and indicated that December provided an opportunity for negotiation. No revised offer was tabled but all committed to have a further meeting on 3 December.
Insufficient and inequitable pay offer rejected (Updated: 20 November 2018)
The pay negotiations for an award back-dated to April 2018 have not yet concluded.
AHDS was not on the SNCT when the Teachers' Side submitted its claim for a 10% pay award. We have since rejoined the Teachers' Side and are in full support of efforts to secure a fair pay award for all staff in our schools. The Teachers' Side pay claim seeks to address, in part, the real-terms reduction in teacher salaries seen over the past ten years. It has been described as a moderated restorative pay claim because, even if awarded in full, it would fall well short of rectifying the 20%+ loss in real terms felt since austerity policies have taken hold.
Employers and the Scottish Government made their offer to the profession and sought to communicate it direct to teachers. There has been some dispute about how the offer has been presented on both sides but for AHDS members the offer has been simple: Promoted Teachers have been offered an increase of 3% unless they earn over £80,000 in which case it will be less than that.
The EIS and SSTA balloted members about whether or not to accept the current pay offer from Employers and the Scottish Government. The result of both ballots have been declared. Both had a response rate of over 73%. Despite the fact that some teachers would have received awards meaningfully higher than the 3% offered to promoted teachers, 97% of SSTA members and 98% of EIS members voted to reject the offer. This was in line with the advice from each union as they are both opposed to any differential pay award.
AHDS did not ballot members at this stage but made clear to Government, within the Teachers' Side and in the media that the offer was not acceptable to our membership. That was not just because it was insufficient but because the offer valued promoted teachers less than the rest of the profession. That point was reiterated to John Swinney at our Annual Conference when one member received a rapturous round of applause when she explained that the series of successive actions (and inaction) by the Government left her not feeling valued. (Successive minimal pay rises wiped out by higher increases in pension contributions for promoted staff while pension benefits are reduced, the decision not to pass on increases in the higher-rate tax threshold and the expectation that the Finance Secretary will do the same again in his forthcoming budget.)
The rejection of the pay offer was accompanied by a request that employers and the Scottish Government should return to the negotiating table with an improved offer. That meeting should take place on Wednesday 22 November.
If an improved offer is not forthcoming and no further meeting is planned then the next step for all unions to consider will be whether to ballot on industrial action. While no union would propose such a ballot lightly, and we hope that it can be avoided, it seems clear that even the increased thresholds for industrial action (required by Westminster’s recent Trade Union legislation) would easily be overcome if voting patterns were similar to the ballot results announced today.
AHDS is supportive of this pay claim and will ballot members in concert with other unions should that be required. This would not happen until January at the soonest. We hope that negotiations between now and the turn of the year produce a positive outcome.