Pay Negotiations: Pending pay award from April 2018
27 March 2019 - update
At noon today the EIS announced that its members had now overwhelmingly accepted the marginally improved pay proposal set out by Mr Swinney in his letter of 8 March (below). Sadly, this is not yet the end of this saga.
On Friday of this week CoSLA will meet to decide whether to make a revised offer in line with the Scottish Government proposal. While we hope they will do so, this is not a mere formality as the offer can only be made by CoSLA as the employers' representative and lesser offers have been very finely balanced when Councillors have voted on them.
If CoSLA do make an offer in line with the proposal set out on 8 March then the road is clear for the Teachers' Side to quickly accept the offer.
More news on Friday...
08 March 2019 update
Negotiations continue and on the eve of a potential strike ballot (EIS and NASUWT plan to open ballots on Monday 11 March) John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, has indicated a willingness to extend the current pay offer slightly and has set out a series of related commitments. You can read the text of his letter here: DFM Letter 08 03 19
Note: On 9 March the EIS decided to send its members an indicative ballot recommending acceptance of the revised offer proposed by John Swinney. The ballot will close on at 12-noon on 27 March. We will update members about the outcome of that ballot and any formal offer from CoSLA as soon as possible.
26 February 2019 update
At yesterday’s SNCT Teachers’ Side meeting it was agreed that (following the ballots of AHDS, EIS and SSTA as set out below) the pay offer would be rejected. EIS and NASUWT made clear that they would progress towards ballots for strike action if a revised offer was not forthcoming – a strike ballot would run from Monday 11 March to 4 April with the first strike day likely to be 24 April.
This morning there was a meeting of the SNCT Extended Joint Chairs where the Teachers’ Side representatives formally informed employers that the offer had been rejected but indicated a willingness to participate in negotiations towards settlement of the 2018-2019 pay claim.
Both COSLA and Scottish Government were positive in response to this and expressed their commitment to a negotiated settlement. A further meeting of the Extended Joint Chairs is planned for Monday, 4 March.
Further updates will be provided in due course.
22 February 2019 update
The results of EIS and SSTA pay offer ballots were published yesterday. Here they are along with our result:
AHDS: Turnout 75%, Reject 10%, Accept 90%.
EIS: Turnout 81%, Reject 57%, Accept 43%.
SSTA: Turnout 76%, Reject 36%, Accept 64%.
The EIS dominates the Teachers’ Side of the SNCT due to their size. This means the offer will be rejected. Clearly this is disappointing for the vast majority of AHDS members who voted to accept.
It is worth noting that, overall (taking all three ballots into account), around 4.5% more teachers voted against the offer than for it. So, even if the votes were aggregated by the Teachers’ Side (which they aren’t), the offer would still be rejected.
Non-pay elements of the offer
While the main focus of the offer was the increase in salary, we also strongly welcomed the proposed review of the job-sizing toolkit by April 2021 and the review of guidance on managing workload. Issues we have been pressing on for a long time.
Unfortunately, progress on these points will not be made until an offer is accepted – and only if it still contains these elements.
As the AHDS membership overwhelmingly voted in favour of the offer, we will not be balloting on strike action. Nor will SSTA, SLS or Voice. NASUWT did not ballot members and at this point it is not clear what their next steps will be.
So, at the time of writing, only the EIS is expected to ballot members on strike action. Under the new rules for strike ballots they will face a big challenge achieving the necessary thresholds for action. First, at least 50% of eligible members must vote. Second, at least 40% of eligible members must vote in favour of strike action.
If the EIS does vote for strike action the expectation is that the first strike would be planned for April. In that situation, we will immediately provide members with clear advice on how to respond to strike action by teachers.
There is a Teachers’ Side meeting on Monday 25 February where we will hear the latest from all unions. AHDS will be updated again following that.
Clearly, it is also open to CoSLA/Scottish Government to improve the offer, which would stall any plans for strike action. At the moment, that does not appear to be planned. If there is any movement on that front members will be updated.
12 February update - Electronic Indicative Ballot: Result
We had a turnout of just over 75%. Of those who voted:
- 90% voted to accept.
- 10% voted to reject.
Clearly, this is a very strong signal from the membership that they believe the offer should be accepted. We recognise that the result of our ballot represents only a small proportion of the overall teaching workforce but we hope that EIS and SSTA members will vote in similar way so that the pay award for 2018-2020 can be settled and we can start to progress the other elements contained in the offer, namely the review of job-sizing and the review of guidance to tackle excessive workload.
28 January 2019 update
On Friday 25 January COSLA formally made the offer proposed by John Swinney to the Teachers Side of the SNCT. AHDS will write to members directly about this inviting them to take part in an indicative ballot and explaining why we think the offer should be accepted.
In the meantime, here is a short summary of the offer, the text of the COSLA offer and the indicative salary tables covering the period of the offer.
3% backdated to April 2018
3% backdated to January 2019
3% in April 2019
3% in April 2020
There are more significant increases for those at the start of the teachers' scale and slightly lower percentage increases for those earning over £80,000 (due to public sector pay rules applied in the current year only).
CoSLA offer letter
"SNCT – Teachers Pay Claim 2018/19 – Employers Side Revised Offer
I write to advise you that COSLA Leaders at their meeting today agreed to make a revised pay offer to the Teachers Side Trade Unions. The offer is in two parts: -
Ø 2018/19 – 3% pay increase for all SNCT grades will apply, up to a cap of £80,000. At or above this figure a flat rate increase of £1,600 will apply. This award will be back dated to 1 April 2018.
Ø 2019/20 – 3% increase will apply uniformly across all SNCT posts governed by the terms and conditions of the SNCT (no cap).
Ø 2020/21 – 3% pay increase will apply across all SNCT posts governed by the terms and conditions of the SNCT (no cap).
In recognition of well-understood recruitment and retention challenges, COSLA has agreed to support the Scottish Government’s policy interventions to (a) restructure the Teachers Main Grade Scale and (b) to revalue the salary scales for promoted posts and associated professionals in 2018/19.
Main Grade Scale
The restructuring of the Main Grade Scale in 2018/19 demonstrates a collective commitment on behalf of COSLA and the Scottish Government to ensure that teaching remains an attractive career option for new graduates and for individuals considering a career change into teaching, and that experienced teaching staff are retained within the profession. The effect of the restructuring is to remove scale point one and add 3% to each of the remaining scale points from 1 January 2019. These changes will mean larger increments for staff in post but not yet at the top of the Main Grade scale, as well as a higher starting salary and faster progression for those coming into the profession.
Promoted Posts and Associated Professionals
The revaluation of the salary scales for promoted posts and associated professional grades recognises current challenges around recruitment for these grades. In proposing these changes, we recognise the full range of responsibilities that will flow from our shared work to empower schools, while acting to incentivise interest in formal leadership posts across Scotland’s schools. The revaluation of the salary levels for promoted posts and associated professional grades will add 3% from 1 January 2019 to all relevant pay points. This does not preclude further consideration of pay and reward for promoted posts in relation to the empowerment agenda, in particular the Headteachers Charter.
Review of Job Sizing
The Employers’ Side and Scottish Government are seeking agreement from the Teachers’ Side to making a joint SNCT commitment to review job sizing within the time period of this revised offer. In seeking this review, we are mindful of the continuing changes taking place within Scottish Education, such as those flowing from the empowering schools’ agenda, issues highlighted in the recently published Headteachers Recruitment Working Group report and current work on the development of career pathway for teachers and headteachers.
Review of Guidance
Finally, in light of the concerns about excessive workload and the challenges around supporting children and young people with additional support needs, the SNCT will commit to a review of its guidance on managing workload.
I should be obliged if in receiving this revised pay offer from COSLA Employers the Trade Union Side would undertake such steps as appropriate to ascertain the views of your members and in due course provide COSLA and the Scottish Government with your response."
The indicative salary tables:
|Jan-18||Apr-18||NEW maingrade Scale||Jan-19||Apr-19||Apr-20|
|Heads & Deputes|
|Ed. Support Officers|
|Senior Ed Psychs|
|Principal Ed. Psych.|
21 Jan 2019 update
The AHDS National Executive met on 19 January to consider developments in the 2018 Pay Negotiations.
Deputy First Minister’s proposal
The Deputy First Minister’s widely reported letter of 10 January set out
the willingness of Scottish Government to fund improvements to the 7
January offer by replacing the 2% being offered in August 2018 with 3%,
payable in January 2019. Our calculations tell us that this proposal is
meaningfully better than the current offer over the period of the pay
We hope that COSLA will make this enhanced offer – funded by the
Scottish Government – following their 25 January meeting. If the offer is made, AHDS would consult
members on whether the offer should be accepted and would strongly recommend to
members that they support acceptance.
Review of job-sizing
AHDS has long campaigned for the job-sizing
mechanism (a toolkit which considers a range of factors to determine school
leader salaries) to be reviewed. We have
a range of concerns about the toolkit’s capacity to properly measure different
roles (including multi-school headships) and about the fact it fails to ensure
meaningful financial incentives to move into headship.
AHDS was very pleased that a review of
job-sizing formed part of the 7 January offer.
This is very important to our members. We are keen that this commitment
remains in any new offer and that it is progressed quickly when the pay award
has been settled.
Failure to agree
The Teachers’ Side of the SNCT has already written to COSLA following the 7 January offer – rejecting that offer and formally indicating that this was considered to be a failure to agree. If COSLA does not revise that offer, AHDS stands ready to move to a statutory ballot for industrial action in concert with other unions.
8 Jan 2019 update
The Teachers’ Panel of the SNCT met this afternoon to discus the pay negotiations and next steps. The Teachers’ Side agreed to write to COSLA to reject the offer presented at the 7th January meeting (it was the same as the improved offer put forward before Christmas – bringing the offer for promoted teachers in line with unpromoted teachers – but went no further) and formally state that this was a ‘failure to agree’.
Each union will now consider whether or not to move to ballot members on industrial action (either an indicative ballot or a formal ballot). The AHDS National Executive will meet on 19 January and will consider our next steps.
In the Teachers' Side letter to COSLA there continued to be a call for further enhancement to the offer:
“Despite a failure to agree the Teachers’ Side is willing to consider, and reconvene negotiations, in the event of any improved offer.”
Further updates will be provided to members here and by e-mail.
Update following SNCT Extended Joint Chairs meeting on 20 December
The SNCT Extended Joint Chairs (EJC) met to continue negotiations around the pay claim. Unusually, details of the offer were shared following considerable press speculation.
The offer from COSLA was a 3-year deal of 3% (2018) +3% (2019) +3% (2020). In addition to that CoSLA offer the Scottish Government offered funds for an additional 2% from August 2018 across all scales (this is a marked improvement for promoted teachers when compared to the earlier offer in which only main grade classroom teachers were offered the additional 2%).
However, for main grade teachers the offer for 2018/19 is exactly the same as the offer rejected by almost all of those who voted in recent ballots of EIS and SSTA members. The likelihood is that this will be unacceptable to them and unless a meaningfully revised offer is tabled at the next meeting then we are likely to move closer to ballots for industrial action.
There is a further meeting of the Extended Joint Chairs on 7 January to be followed by a Teachers' Side meeting on 8 January. Further updates will be provided to members here and by e-mail.
Update following SNCT Extended Joint Chairs meeting on 17 December
A meeting of the Extended Joint Chairs took place earlier today. COSLA and Scottish Government tabled a revised offer, which addressed the need for a universal offer for all teachers to be made, but which still fell short of the Teachers' Side pay claim. As anticipated SG was seeking agreement around a multi-year deal.
The teachers side made a number of suggestions, seeking to improve the value of the offer and both SG and COSLA have taken these away for consideration.
A further meeting of Extended Joint Chairs has been set for Thursday afternoon. An update will be posted here as soon as possible.
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.