Scottish Government blasted for 'empty statement' as teachers prepare for latest strike

Scottish Government blasted for 'empty statement' as teachers prepare for latest strike

Updated: 28 days, 6 hours, 37 minutes, 40 seconds ago

Almost a year down the line of pay deal talks with teachers, the Scottish Government is told their offer of compromise is "empty".

Nuzhat Uthmani, a primary school teacher in Scotland and co-founder of the group Scottish Teachers for Positive Change took aim at the SNP as further talks are held with teaching unions.

Staff in primary schools will walk out on Tuesday followed by secondary school teachers on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Scots teachers confirm more strikes in New Year as SNP blasted over 'real terms pay cut'

Unions have already rejected a five per cent increase while arguing for 10 per cent rise. The offer includes rises of up to 6.85 per cent for the lowest-paid staff. Teachers argue that since 2008, their pay had devalued by over 20 per cent.

The NASUWT union wants to see a fully-funded pay award of 12% per cebnt for the academic year 2022/23.

They state that there has already been a decade of pay freezes and below-inflation pay awards imposed on teachers, adding further that this amounts to teachers in Scotland being almost £50,000 worse off.

"Back in April last year, which is when this page you'll pay deal was supposed to go through, you know inflation was sitting at seven per cent. And because of this delay that we've had from Scottish Government and our employers up here, you know, we're now in a situation where 10 per cent is still actually going to be a pay cut," said Ms Uthmani.

Speaking on BBC Five Live, she responded to the suggestion that the Scottish Government may be open to compromise after previously stating it had no more money for pay increases. She said: "We are nine months down the line so I think that's a very kind of empty statement.

"Right now we need final action so that we can get past the strike action, we can all get back to doing what we want to do and benefit, obviously, the future of education for our children and young people. So I don't really have full faith in those kinds of statements. What we'd like to see is the 10 per cent offer coming through so we can all move on."

Teachers have faced criticism for adding to years of disruption to education as well as demanding wages rise to meet inflation when government budgets are restricted.

Asked if she felt guilty going on strike, Ms Uthmani said: "No, absolutely not. And I think there's this narrative that strikes are all the faults of strikers. It's got to this stage that strikes are our way of highlighting how bad the issue is, and that we cannot continue to rely on the goodwill and self-sacrifice of the workers to keep the system running."

Education secretary, Shirely Ann Sommerville said: "Strikes in our schools are in no one's interest including for pupils, parents and carers who have already had to deal with significant disruption over the past three years."

She previously said: "We are open to considering options to resolve this dispute through the SNCT.

"I recognise that any deal must be fair and affordable for all concerned, given the unprecedented pressures facing Scotland's budget."

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