Tens of thousands of teachers in Scotland will strike on Thursday after a new pay offer was rejected.
The industrial action by members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) will lead to the closure of most schools in Scotland and comes after the union’s demand for a 10% increase in pay was not met.
Members will also take action short of striking from 9 December, which will involve refusing to cover for absent colleagues and attending no more than one meeting a week outside pupil sessions.
The new pay offer by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), their employer, would have seen pay rises of up to 6.85%, up from its previous offer of 5%.
Under these proposals teachers earning less than £40,107 would receive an extra £1,926 a year.
Those in the top two bands were being offered a 5% uplift, with those on £60,000 or more receiving no more than £3,000.
Prior to news of the new offer by Cosla, Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish education secretary, told the Scottish parliament the 10% demand was “unaffordable”. She added that the cost of living crisis is “the priority”.
The EIS, Scotland’s biggest teaching union, said its salaries committee unanimously rejected the offer on Tuesday.
Its general secretary, Andrea Bradley, said: “Our members will see this offer for exactly what it is – a kick in the teeth from their employers and the Scottish government.”
She added that the Thursday strike would go ahead as planned.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA), which is planning a strike on 7 and 8 December, called the offer “very disappointing”.
Cosla spokesperson Katie Hagmann called on the EIS to postpone Thursday’s strike, saying that its pay offer is “in line with offers made to all other parts of the public sector”.
Thursday’s planned action comes as teachers across the UK are preparing for strike action.
A third union, the NASUWT, said its members in Scotland have voted for strike action to take place on 7 and 8 December.