HomeBusinessSchools are being disrupted as teachers take two-day strike action

Schools are being disrupted as teachers take two-day strike action



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Schools across Scotland will be affected by the teachers’ strike and members of two trade unions are taking action on Wednesday and Thursday.

The strike, led by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) and the NASUWT union, comes just two weeks after a similar protest by the EIS – Scotland’s largest teaching union.

That move, on November 24, closed almost all schools across Scotland – but recent strikes appear unlikely to have the same effect. Instead, many schools will remain partially closed, with secondary schools open to senior school students.

The strike will have varying effects on schools across the country with Glasgow City Council saying “each school will have a different plan as the number of the two unions taking action – SSTA and NASUWT – will vary”.

Members of Scotland have taken national strike action for the first time in more than a decade

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT

The strikes come as part of a dispute over pay between teachers’ unions and the Scottish Government and local government body Cosla.

This round of action will see strikes against the authority mainly in the west of Scotland on Wednesday, switching to the remaining council areas on Thursday.

Glasgow City Council said that “each school will have a different plan as the number of the two unions taking action – SSTA and NASUWT – will vary”.

In Edinburgh, where action will be taken on Thursday, the council said “only 10% of the workforce will be involved, we will keep as many schools open as possible”.

Aberdeen Council will be affected by strike action on Thursday, with a list of closures available on the council’s website, while Fife Council has confirmed that all secondary schools will be closed to pupils on the same day.

The move comes after teachers rejected an offer from employers last month, with the SSTA branding it a “deplorable and humiliating” offer for teachers.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the SSTA, said: “Hopefully, employers and the Scottish Government will understand that all teaching unions in Scotland are united in a fair and reasonable pay settlement and there needs to be a willingness to resolve pay disputes.

“The latest proposal was quickly rejected by the teachers’ unions and was deliberately divisive and inadequate.

“This clear display of contempt for teachers by this offer has hardened the resolve of members and forced the SSTA to take the strongest possible action.”

He added: “SSTA can only apologize to the students and their parents who are stuck in the middle of a dispute that should have been resolved months ago. Teachers don’t want to take strike action because they would rather be in school teaching.

“The SSTA, as always, is willing to meet with employers and the Scottish Government at any time to resolve this dispute but there must be a willingness to engage on behalf of the other party.”

Unions have called for a 10% pay rise for teachers, although the Scottish Government insists this is unaffordable.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “This is the first national strike action by members in Scotland in more than a decade.

“It is actually a reflection of the depth of anger and frustration that they are constantly being told by ministers and Kosla that there is no more money to raise their salaries, their workloads are increasing and the expectations on them are increasing.

“The cost-of-living crisis has led to this situation and we cannot rule out further strike action in the coming months until ministers and employers act to pay teachers fair and decent pay.”

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the strike was “in nobody’s interests” and the Scottish Government was committed to a fair settlement for Scottish teachers.

He said: “It is extremely disappointing that the teachers’ unions have rejected the latest offer, the fourth that has been offered to the unions, which mirrors the deal accepted by other local government workers.

“Requesting a 10% rise for all teachers – even the highest paid – is not affordable within the Scottish Government’s set budget.

“While councils are responsible for managing the impact of industrial action, I hope schools will remain open wherever possible, to minimize disruption. Any closure will follow a risk assessment carried out in individual areas.”

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