Voice Scotland and teachers' pay: an update (updated)

Voice Scotland's position and information for members

By Dougie Atkinson, Senior Professional Officer (Scotland)

Pay for teachers in Scotland is determined by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT). The SNCT is a tripartite body, comprising members from teaching unions, the employers' side (local authorities), and the Scottish Government. Voice is a member of that body, although the number of seats different unions hold on the SNCT is determined by membership numbers and, as a small union, our voice on that body is far from the loudest.

The Teachers' Side in Scotland submitted a claim for 10% (pdf) earlier this year. EIS (which makes up the majority of seats on the Teachers' Side) in particular is determined to try and make sure the Scottish Government begins to recover some of the ground lost over the last ten years. The employers' umbrella organisation, COSLA, initially offered 3% with additional amounts for teachers at the bottom of the main scale. That offer was rejected by the Teachers' Side. That offer was then subsequently improved.

The Employers' Side said a new deal would mean some Scottish teachers would be in line for a pay boost of more than 10%, as the Scottish Government agreed to find an extra £35 million in order to reach a pay settlement. Under the deal, they claim £25 million would be invested in overhauling the main grade teacher pay scale, with a further £10 million to extend the 3% rise offered earlier this year to teachers earning between £36,501 and £80,000.

Education Secretary John Swinney and COSLA took the unprecedented step of writing directly to teachers about their improved offer. The EIS see this an attempt to circumvent their ballot.

In that letter (see below), Mr Swinney and COSLA use percentage figures which include incremental progression that, of course, teachers already are awarded on an annual basis as they move through the pay spine. Some regard that as disingenuous.

The EIS remain unhappy with the latest proposals and are now balloting their members on whether to accept or reject the latest offer. [Offer rejected, further talks to follow.. (The Scotsman), 20 November 2018.]

A Teachers' Panel meeting was held on 6 December 2018. (pdf)

Further talks are scheduled for 17 December 2018.

Update: 13 December 2018: https:/twitter.com/TESScotland/status/1072891710827626496  

Voice Scotland

Voice does not take part in industrial action. However, we do support the idea of better pay and conditions for teachers and will continue to negotiate for such.  


We believe that sitting round a table negotiating improved terms is the way forward, not industrial action.


However, in the current financial climate, and looking at other public sector pay settlements, the latest offer from COSLA and Scottish Government seems not unreasonable, but we cannot unilaterally take that decision. The Teachers' Side operates on a collective basis, so Voice will be bound by the outcome of the action of the other unions.

Any members who want further information on teachers' pay in Scotland should contact Voice's Edinburgh office.

Latest updates

Further information

Letter from Cabinet Secretary for Education and COSLA:

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