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Teacher strikes may target Nicola Sturgeon's constituency

Union says it hopes to reach deal as talks open after 3% pay rise offer rejected.

Targeted: EIS may hold a strike in the First Minister's Glasgow Southside constituency.
Targeted: EIS may hold a strike in the First Minister's Glasgow Southside constituency.

Schools in Nicola Sturgeon's constituency could be hit by strike action under radical plans being considered by Scotland's largest teaching union in a row over pay.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) could target the First Minister's Glasgow Southside constituency, as well as the seats held by education secretary John Swinney in Perthshire North and finance secretary Derek Mackay in Renfrewshire North and West.

The series of strikes would mirror the same union's tactics in the 1980s, when industrial action was taken in areas represented by Conservative MPs during the Margaret Thatcher era.

However, the EIS hope to agree a deal before strike action - which could take place anywhere across Scotland - is taken.

Teaching unions have demanded a 10% wage rise. The government and councils offered a headline 3% rise, with bigger increases for staff on lower grades.

Mr Swinney claimed the offer would give the majority of staff a rise of between 5% and 11% once restructuring and pay progression were factored in.

Disappointed: John Swinney claimed the offer would give the majority of staff a rise.
Disappointed: John Swinney claimed the offer would give the majority of staff a rise. © STV

However, members of EIS and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) rejected the offer by overwhelming majorities in November.

The EIS said 98% of members who voted rejected the offer, with a turnout of 74%. In the SSTA ballot, 97% rejected the deal, on a 73% turnout.

The unions claim the real value of teachers' pay has fallen by 20% over the past decade, and a large rise is needed to boost recruitment and retention of staff.

In October, tens of thousands of teachers marched in Glasgow in support of a "fair deal" that would "value teachers".

Now, the EIS has warned of a ballot on strike action if the offer does not improve. Although negotiations are ongoing and no decisions have been made, the strikes could potentially happen anywhere across Scotland.

'No decision has yet been taken on what form any future industrial action might take, and all options remain open'
Educational Institute of Scotland spokesperson

An EIS spokesperson said: "The overwhelming rejection of the 'final' offer from the Scottish Government/Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in our recent ballot has led to further talks and we anticipate a revised offer in the near future.

"Our clear preference remains agreeing a deal through negotiation, though industrial action remains an option should this be necessary.

"No decision has yet been taken on what form any future industrial action might take, and all options remain open."

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