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SSTA Pay Ballot – Vote to Accept

The SSTA conducted a formal pay ballot of members on the latest pay offer from the employers (COSLA). Members voted overwhelmingly to accept and brought the SSTA pay dispute and further industrial action to an end.
 
The SSTA members returned a 85.3% in favour of accepting with 14.7% rejecting the latest offer. The formal ballot had a turnout of 79.9%.
 
Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said.
 
“The SSTA is an autonomous teachers’ union and the response to the ballot gave a clear statement. The membership has determined to accept the latest pay offer. Throughout the period of industrial action, the SSTA has taken a measured approach, and has been willing to negotiate to find a solution to the pay dispute”.
 
“The SSTA is proud to be a member-led union, and the ballot is a fundamental part of our democratic process. The SSTA will be voting to accept this offer at the next SNCT meeting and asserting that the back pay due is in teachers’ pay packets as soon as possible. Hopefully, the employers will be prepared to act quickly”.
 
“However, the SSTA has a major concern over the unnecessary pay cap; this seems to be an act of political dogma rather than a rational proposal. The inclusion of this is a considerable barrier in the professional career structure for secondary school teachers. The career ladder has been stifled for many years: the number of posts of responsibility has been cut severely.  Posts such as these are needed in secondary schools as they are essential for good management systems. The reduction in the number of posts with responsibility attached to them has put good order in schools at risk; this is a fundamental requirement for a successful school. It is no surprise that teachers are walking away and this salary cap is just a ‘slap in the face’ to teachers in senior positions in schools”.
 
 
Catherine Nicol, SSTA President said.
 
“This dispute could, and should, have been resolved many months ago. Scottish Government and COSLA should have been more prepared to negotiate with teacher unions properly and long before they did. This showed a lack of respect for the collective bargaining process that is in place and the unions had no option but to embark on strike action. Many days of school closures causing children to miss their education should and could have been prevented. Lessons on negotiating with teacher unions must be learnt, the process must be taken seriously in future”.
 
“SSTA members have been frustrated by the delay in the delivery of a pay award that should have been paid in April last year. They have been keen to get back to work and to support their pupils as they prepare for the forthcoming examinations”.
 
“I am proud to be the SSTA President, as the SSTA is the only teachers’ union that speaks exclusively from the perspective of teachers that work in the secondary sector, and I make no apology for this. The SSTA speaks and fights, solely on behalf of those that hold posts in Scottish Secondary schools.

BallotImageMarch2023

SSTA FORMAL PAY BALLOT - 6 March 2023 

The SSTA has launched a formal ballot on the improved pay offer received from COSLA . The SSTA is advising all members to consider carefully the details of the pay offer.  Please note that it is structured differently from the previous pay offer that members were asked to consider in the consultative survey in February.
 
The offer is for 28 months and is in three parts for the period 1 April 2022 to 31 July 2024:

  • A 7% increase at all SNCT pay points with effect from 1 April 2022, with a cap at a starting salary of £80,000 or over, where a £5,600 flat rate uplift to salary will apply.
  • A further increase of 5% at all SNCT pay points with effect from 1 April 2023, with a cap at a starting salary of £80,000 or over where a £4,000 flat rate uplift to salary will apply.
  • A further increase of 2% at all SNCT pay points with effect from 1 January 2024, with a cap at a starting salary of £80,000 or over where a £1,600 flat rate uplift to salary will apply.

A draft set of salary scales based on the revised pay offer can be found here.

The formal online ballot will be conducted by Mi-Voice, an independent scrutineer and will close at 4.00pm on Thursday 9 March 2023It is vitally important that members respond as quickly as possible to ensure that all members’ views can be considered. 

The SSTA is an autonomous teachers’ union and will determine its own position on pay and future industrial action following the outcome of this formal ballot. As a member-led union, the ballot is a fundamental part of our democratic process, and it will be acted upon by the SSTA elected-member committees.

Remember the SSTA is the only teachers’ union that speaks solely on behalf of Scottish Secondary teachers.  Every member’s view is important!

The email invitation to take part in the ballot will be sent out by Mi-Voice at approx. 4.30pm on Monday 6 March 2023 from elections@mi-voice.com.  The email will be sent to members preferred email addresses. If you cannot see the email, please check the junk/spam folder. 

Should you be unable to find your ballot email, you can request that the email is re-sent by visiting www.mi-vote.com/secure/ssta and entering the required information.

Teachers’ Pay Dispute 2022-2023

The SSTA National Executive met today to consider the next steps of the SSTA pay campaign. The Executive had identified dates for further industrial action in the event of the employers failing to produce an improved pay offer.

However, just after 3.00pm today an improved pay offer was received from COSLA and as previously agreed by the SSTA Salaries Committee and National Executive the latest pay offer will be put to members. The SSTA will conduct a formal online ballot undertaken by an independent scrutineer next week with further details for the ballot to be issued early next week

SSTA STATEMENT TO MEMBERS - PAY DISPUTE - 24 FEBRUARY 2023

Following a meeting of the SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee and National Executive this evening the following statement has been released.
 
The SSTA conducted a consultative survey of all members in local authorities, to gauge members’ views and comments on the employers pay offer (14 February 2023). The committees would like to thank all members who contributed to the survey that had a 76% response.
 
The SSTA position has been to build strike action, apply pressure on the Scottish Government and COSLA and to bring the pay dispute to settlement. The SSTA has embarked on a measured campaign that has led to a series of meetings of all sides. At each stage SSTA sought to increase opportunities for negotiation. Following the failure of the employers to present a new pay offer the SSTA Executive, at its meeting on 20 January, declared two further days of strike action to take place on 28 February and 1 March.
 
Eventually, on the 14 February a new pay offer was received. The SSTA Executive made the decision to consult members on the latest offer, to gauge members’ views and help to give a steer as to the next steps in the pay campaign.
 
The consultative survey responses contained a wide range of views and has highlighted the strong feelings of members, not only on teachers’ pay but the damaging impact teacher workload is having on members.
 
The members survey returned a very marginal vote in favour of accepting the pay offer. However, the pay offer was rejected by the SNCT Teachers’ Side and therefore the pay offer of 14 February has fallen. Discussions within the SNCT are continuing for an improved offer to be brought forward.
 
The SSTA National Executive has unanimously agreed in light of the members response in the survey to defer the industrial action planned on 28 February and 1 March in the expectation of an improved pay offer in the coming days.

The SSTA will in conjunction with other teacher unions reinstate the industrial action should an improved pay offer not be forthcoming

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SSTA Consultative Survey on 14 February Pay Offer

The SSTA Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee decided at its meeting on Wednesday 15 February to consult with members on the latest employers’ pay offer in order to gauge members’ views. The Committee believes it is important to consult members on any significant development in the pay dispute. All members employed by a local authority are invited to participate in the electronic consultative survey.

The SNCT Teachers’ Pay Claim for 2022-2023 is for a 10% uplift for all SNCT pay grades. No pay claim has been made by the SNCT Teachers’ Side for 2023-2024 due to the focus on resolving the current year pay dispute. It is important to remember that any pay offer can only be accepted or rejected by the SNCT Teachers’ Panel not by any individual union. As you will recall SSTA rejected the pay offer of 2021-2022, but was outvoted at the SNCT.

The employers (COSLA) issued a pay offer late on Tuesday 14 February that gave an increase on the previous offer of 5% in the current year and the inclusion of an offer from April 2023. The term of the offer covers the period April 2022 to March 2024.

A 6% increase at all SNCT pay points with effect from 1 April 2022, with a cap at a starting salary of £80,000 or over, where a £4,800 flat rate uplift to salary will apply.
 
A further increase of 5.5 % at all SNCT pay points with effect from 1 April 2023, with a cap at a starting salary of £80,000 or over where a £4,400 flat rate uplift to salary will apply.

The COSLA offer can be found here.

The impact of the proposed increase can be seen in the attached draft pay scales.

The members’ consultative survey will commence on Thursday 16 February and will close on Friday 24 February at 1.00pm. The email invitations will be sent out this afternoon to the 'prefered' email address we hold for members.

The SSTA Salaries and Executive Committees urges all members to participate in the survey as this is vital in deciding the next steps of the SSTA pay campaign.

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COSLA Pay Offer - 14 February 2023

The SSTA Salaries and Executive Committees met today to consider the latest pay offer and the next steps in the pay dispute.

The SSTA is appalled by the actions of COSLA and Scottish Government in conducting the pay negotiations through the press and social media. COSLA and Scottish Government, together with the teacher unions, are partners in negotiations on schoolteachers’ pay and conditions of service. It shows a lack of respect of the established SNCT negotiating mechanism and the position of teachers. The SSTA together with sister teacher unions will be working to prevent this undermining of the negotiating process.

Despite this concern and the inability to undo what has occurred the SSTA Salaries Committee made the decision to consult members on the latest employers pay offer in order to gauge members’ views. All members employed by a local authority will receive an email invitation to the electronic consultative survey on Thursday 16 February with the survey closing on Friday 24 February at 1pm.

The SSTA urges all members to participate in the survey as this is vital in deciding the next steps of the pay campaign

For your information, please find below links to the pay offer letter from COSLA and a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

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SSTA to Take Two Further Days of Strike Action

The SSTA National Executive has, following another failed SNCT negotiating meeting, authorised two days of strike action on Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 March. The SSTA will be joining members of sister unions in national strike action in a coordinated campaign of industrial action.

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said.

“The SSTA has taken a measured approach to industrial action due to the impact it would have on the pupils preparing for exams. The deliberate inaction of the Scottish Government and COSLA just shows the lack of respect and level of contempt, not only for teachers, but for the pupils they teach, forcing teachers to take more strike action. The Scottish Government and its accomplice COSLA are failing education, having deliberately refused to put any new money on the table since August last year”.

“The Scottish Government and COSLA were adamant during the pandemic that schools needed to be kept open and education needed to be continued regardless of the risks and dangers that teachers were placed in. These are the same people who have allowed this pay dispute to continue, see schools closed and pupils’ education disrupted. How can these people sit on their hands and seek compromise when they have refused to make any movement in five months?”.

“How many more times are teachers to hear the same old rhetoric ‘we value teachers, and we are putting together a new offer’ only for another week to pass without a penny being put on the table. The SSTA has no option but to step up its industrial action”.

Catherine Nicol, SSTA President said.

“Teacher unions are standing together and, with the support of the public and parents, we will succeed. However, we urge parents and members of the public to help by demanding action from the First Minister and Councils and get teachers back to school teaching”.

“Teachers have been propping up the education system for years by working many more hours a week than they are paid for and this goodwill is running out due to the arrogance of the employers and government who appear to want to break teachers resolve. I can assure them teachers are standing firm to get a fair pay settlement. Teachers need to say ‘No to Free Overtime’ and demand a salary that will retain and recruit teachers for the future”.

Pay Dispute – Another Wasted Opportunity

Following the latest meeting of the SNCT Extended Joint Chairs meeting on Thursday evening to discuss a possible solution to the 2022-2023 pay dispute

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said

“The Scottish Government and COSLA have again failed to put an improved pay offer on the table and have blocked the path towards further negotiations. Despite a range of meetings in the last week with the Cabinet Secretary plus two ‘negotiating’ meetings of the Extended Joint Chairs no new offer has been made”.

“This meeting was another wasted opportunity to bring the dispute to an end and prevent further strike action. The approach to negotiation with the trade unions is causing more disruption to pupils’ learning and giving unnecessary worry to parents. It is time the Scottish Government and COSLA took responsibility for the position and tried to resolve this pay dispute”.

“It is evident that COSLA and the Scottish Government are refusing to listen to the view of the Teachers’ Side and are happy for teacher strikes that began in November and December to extend into January and to allow further strikes to take place in the coming months”.

Catherine Nicol, SSTA President said

“The SSTA are insisting that only a suitable pay offer that will encourage teachers to remain in the profession will be acceptable. This would attract the highest quality graduates and ensure we sustain the high-quality education system we have in Scotland: a system that is respected across Europe. However, the current lack of negotiations shows a level of disrespect to the profession”.

“The SSTA Executive has no option but to look at taking strike action and other measures to get the message across.  We are not just fighting for a fair salary increase but for the future of education in Scotland”.

5% is not Enough!
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SSTA Members' Bulletin - 16 December 2022

SNCT Teachers’ Pay Claim 2022-2023

The Scottish Government sought a meeting of the SNCT Extended Joint Chairs, and the meeting took place on Wednesday 14 December. COSLA confirmed that it had no additional funds to increase the pay offer and the only source of additional funding would be from the Scottish Government. Following a lengthy engagement, it was agreed further talks would be necessary to find a solution to the 2022 pay dispute. The SNCT Teachers’ Side confirmed the teacher unions resolve to get a fair and reasonable pay offer for their members.

SSTA Industrial Action

The SSTA National Executive has confirmed its support for the planned national strike action in Secondary Schools on Wednesday 11 January. The SSTA will be joined by colleagues from other unions in a united front to encourage the Scottish Government to resolve our pay dispute. Trade union colleagues in primary schools will be taking national action in primary schools on Tuesday 10 January. The SSTA National Executive has also committed to a third day of strike action with the date to be confirmed in January. The teacher unions are working together to co-ordinate the planned industrial action to give the maximum impact for our pay campaign and show the employers and the Scottish Government that a suitable pay offer needs to be found.

Maternity Survey

The STUC is supporting Maternity Action in working on a cost-of-living project, to find out more about the devastating impact of the reduction in income they experience when mothers undertake a period of maternity leave, particularly in the current financial crisis.

Members who have been on maternity leave since January 2021 are encouraged to complete the survey about the financial impact on you and your family as the cost-of-living crisis bites deeper. Your feedback will support Maternity Action's work campaigning for better maternity pay and benefits for pregnant women, new mothers, and their families.

Take the survey here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KMBQSCL

Tax Review

A 51-year-old SSTA member in South Lanarkshire recently secured a refund of £1,177.14 following a tax review. The review, provided by leading PAYE tax specialists, The Tax Refund Company, identified the errors that caused the employer to deduct too much tax and helped to get money back from HMRC.

Hundreds of members have taken advantage of this service and gone on to request a full tax review. 65% have found they were owed money back from HMRC. The average tax refund is £178 each, but some members have received over £2,550 back! There is no charge for this review. If you have paid the correct amount of tax, the review is free. If the review concludes you have paid too much tax, The Tax Refund Company will correspond with HMRC to try and recover your money. Where they are successful, there is a fee of £38 for amounts up to £100 or 38p per £1 where the amount recovered is over £100.

To take advantage of this service, please go to www.sstatax.co.uk You will find out within a few minutes if you might have paid too much tax and if so, you will be able to register for a full review.

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SSTA Announces Strike Action on Wednesday 11 January 2023

Following the successful strike action taken by SSTA members on 7 and 8 December the SSTA National Executive has announced the next step of the teachers’ pay campaign. A further day of strike action will take place on Wednesday 11 January 2023.
 
Catherine Nicol SSTA President said
 
“The Executive Committee would like to thank all of the SSTA members that took strike action this week. You were willing to come out in freezing conditions and this showed the strength of feeling there is against acceptance of the current pay offer.  Scottish secondary school teachers answered the call and stood together to fight for a fair and reasonable pay deal. SSTA members have sent a clear message to the Scottish Government and COSLA. Pay teachers properly: not just for now but for the future”.
 
“If the Scottish Government values its teachers it must be prepared to act and negotiate sensibly. We must have a pay offer that we can take to our members. If not, the SSTA is prepared to take strike action to obtain a fair deal and further our cause”.
 
Seamus Searson SSTA General Secretary
 
“The strikes this week have been an outstanding success with most secondary schools either been closed or severely disrupted by the action of SSTA members. I take my hat off to SSTA members, they have shown their resolve and determination to get a deal done. This can be seen by the videos and pictures of SSTA members taking strike action”.
 
“The SSTA strike will join with other teacher unions on Wednesday 11 January in a united front to send a clear message that the teacher unions are not for turning. Three years ago, the Deputy First Minister when Cabinet Secretary for Education, promised the teacher unions that teachers pay must be settled on time and without the prolonged procrastination orchestrated by the employers (COSLA). This pay increase should have been in teacher wage packets in April this year: but we still await payment. The SSTA calls on the DFM to be true to his word and settle this pay dispute now”
 
“Further strike action days in furtherance of the dispute are being considered by the Executive Committee and will be announced in the coming days”

5% is not Enough!