Prelim exams rescheduled as Scottish teachers strike for second day

Prelim exams have had to be rescheduled for some secondary school pupils as teachers went on strike for the second day across Scotland, before a further wave of disruption planned over 16 consecutive days from next Monday.

Scottish primary schools were closed all day on Tuesday, with secondary schools shutting on Wednesday, after members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), NASUWT and the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) rejected a 5% pay increase, including rises of up to 6.85% for the lowest-paid, arguing for 10%.

The Holyrood education secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, told MSPs on Tuesday that she would leave “no stone unturned” to bring about a quick resolution to the pay dispute, but described the unions’ pay demands as “simply unaffordable”.

Seamus Searson, the general secretary of the SSTA, told the Guardian he had visited a picket line in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning: “Teachers are very angry about what is going on. They don’t want to be on strike, but this is not just about pay for this year but to keep people in the profession and bring new teachers in. I’ve been talking to teachers with 15 to 20 years service who can’t make ends meet and are talking about leaving the profession.”

Searson said the local authority umbrella group Cosla and the Scottish government “need to come up with an offer we can take back to members”, stating that the “last proper offer” was made in August.

Primary teachers on picket lines on Tuesday described being forced to take up additional tutoring and other second jobs in order to cope with cost of living pressures.

Andrea Bradley, the general secretary of the EIS, said they had received “strong support” from parents and reiterated that teaching unions were still waiting for an improved pay offer from Cosla and the Scottish government.

The EIS has announced 16 consecutive days of action, rolling across every council area in the country, beginning next Monday.

The SSTA is expecting further meetings with the Scottish government this week, and has yet to announce further days of action.

These form part of a fresh wave of new year strikes over pay, despite warnings from the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, that her government has “no more money” to offer teachers, as well as nurses and midwives.

The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives are expected to announce their first strikes in Scotland shortly in an ongoing dispute over a pay settlement imposed on NHS staff in December.

The Guardian