Pay Campaign Update

The SSTA Strike Ballot closing date is coming fast. Please get your ballot paper in the post as soon as possible.

Ballot closes 16 November 2022. Every last vote is important!

Meeting with the DFM and Cabinet Secretary for Education – 10 November 2022

The SNCT Teachers’ Side were invited to a meeting with the DFM and Cabinet Secretary for Education at the Scottish Parliament on 10 November 2022. All six teacher unions/associations were represented together with representatives from COSLA (employers) and a large number of Scottish Government Officials. This meeting was not replacing the normal SNCT Extended Joint Chairs negotiating mechanism but an attempt to help to resolve the pay dispute.

The DFM and Cabinet Secretary explained the dire financial situation the Scottish Government found itself (including the impact of the ‘mess’ made in London a few weeks ago). COSLA followed in behind on a similar line. There was a clear wish to avoid strike action.
The teacher side maintained its position that only an improved undifferentiated pay offer would move the situation forward. Teachers were angry with the delay in resolving the 2022 pay claim and the feeling of being undervalued for their commitment over the last number of years. It was also highlighted that teachers are preparing to take strike action.
Eventually, the unions were told if an improved offer were to be made there would have to be consequences to the service including a reduction in headcount. Teacher side didn’t respond to these remarks other than they understood what was being said.
The meeting closed with the Scottish Government and COSLA wanting to carry on talks to prevent any potential strike action.

Industrial Action 

Trade unions are unable to take industrial action until 14 days have passed from the date of the closing of the ballot. SSTA delayed the start of the balloting process to avoid the October break and give a three-week voting period to ensure a good return in the postal balloting process. The SNCT teacher unions have been working closely on the pay campaign and were all kept appraised of the position of each of unions/associations. The SSTA position has been for unions to work closely and coordinate industrial action to have the maximum impact as part of the pay campaign. However ultimately, each union has its own internal mechanisms in how to operate and is able to make its own decisions.
It has been announced that EIS is taking the first step of its industrial action with a one-day strike on Thursday 24 November. I also believe AHDS (primary schools) are intending to take strike action on the same following a successful ballot that met the required thresholds.
The SSTA and NASUWT are unable to join the strike on 24 November as our outstanding ballots will not have closed in time to give the required 14 days’ notice. Further advice to members will be issued next week. The SSTA National Executive will meet next week following the close of the SSTA ballot to consider our next steps. The SSTA will attempt to work with other trade unions in a coordinated pay campaign.
Unfortunately, the SLS failed in its ballot by not meeting the first threshold of a 50% return with only a 38% return and is unable to take industrial action without conducting a fresh postal ballot. This highlights the importance of getting all members to return their ballot papers.