Union calls for Nicola Sturgeon to intervene in Glasgow school strikes

TEACHERS have slapped First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with a poor report card as Glasgow primary schools shut due to strike action.

Members of the NASUWT union gathered outside the MSP’s Govanhill office earlier to call on the SNP leader to do more.

Among their complaints, the educators said the First Minister should be playing a more pivotal role in talks taking place between the Scottish Government, COSLA and Unions, as well as ensure staff are offered more than the current 5% bid on the table.

The group, who were encouraging passers by to toot their horns or give them a wave in support of their plea, claim that rising inflation rates mean the offer would amount to a real terms pay cut.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow primary schools shut amid teacher strike

Mike Corbett, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said: “We’re trying to give Nicola Sturgeon the message that we need a new improved offer on the table as soon as possible to try and resolve this pay dispute … as it stands six weeks after the last pay offer we still have no new offer on the table.”

He added: “There seems to be a bit of an impasse at the moment and claims that there’s no more money available, there’s no more money around, but we know from what happened with the local government last year, we heard similar things and then the First Minister, herself, intervened and made sure that there was.”

The union also expressed its sympathy for families who may be struggling with the childcare issues as a result of the strike.

Secondary school staff are expected to follow suit tomorrow while further industrial action is expected as early as next week if a deal cannot be struck.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Eleventh hour talks ‘too late’ to avert primary school strike closures

Mike added: “Our members do not wish to take further strike action, having already been out on strike in December, but, in the absence of any improved pay offer, they feel they have no alternative.

“The Scottish Government’s own figures demonstrate that teacher numbers have dipped while pupil numbers have increased and, meantime, teacher-training institutions cannot fill all of their places.

“If there is no significantly improved pay offer for teachers then these recruitment and retention problems will become a full-blown crisis and threaten the whole education system.”

The Scottish Government has previously stated it would work with COSLA to do all possible to ensure an agreement was met.

Meanwhile, staff congregated at picket lines across the city and EIS union members met in Buchanan Street to rally against the pay offer.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I was grateful for the constructive and helpful talks with the teaching unions and COSLA on Friday.

“I took the opportunity to make clear how much I value our teaching workforce and recognise the vital importance of reaching a fair and affordable settlement on pay.

“We are open to considering options to resolve this dispute, through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), and the potential scope for compromise.

Glasgow Times:

“I recognise that any deal must be fair and affordable for all concerned, given the unprecedented pressures facing Scotland’s budget.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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