TALKS between teachers and the government have broken down after unions rejected a “derisory” 3% pay rise.

The EIS, who have been pushing for a 10% wage hike, say the collapse in negotiations could force teachers into taking industrial action.

The union accused the Scottish Government of “abandoning the talks rather than seeking to negotiate a solution”.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said the blame lay firmly with Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

“It is shameful that Scottish ministers have walked away from the negotiating table in this manner.

“The EIS, and other unions, had offered constructive proposals for government and Cosla to consider but in rejecting them out of hand, ministers have effectively dismissed the concerns of Scottish teachers.

“The Deputy First Minister has shown that he isn’t listening.

“Teachers will be disappointed and angry.

“The prospect of industrial unrest in Scotland’s schools has moved a significant step closer as a result of the government’s abandonment of talks.”

In a statement released after the meeting Swinney said the government and Cosla had offered the “best pay deal possible for 2018-19”.

He added: “This includes the Scottish Government contributing an additional £35 million for teachers pay. This will result in all teachers on the main grade scale receiving at least a 5% increase, with some teachers receiving up to 11% in one year in conjunction with annual progression.

“The offer matches or betters other offers in the public sector in Scotland, for example 6.5% for Police Officers over 31 months. We firmly believe that it is generous and fair and would encourage teachers to consider it favourably.”

Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray said the collapse in talks was proof the SNP were “out of touch with the frontline experience of all teachers”.

“Until and unless John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon find the money to pay our teachers properly, and make the profession one an attractive one again, all their talk of education as a ‘priority’ is just so much hot air.”

Earlier in the day, the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson used First Minister’s Question to raise a teacher’s disquiet with Scotland’s schools directly with Nicola Sturgeon.

The teacher said a colleague had arranged to meet the Education Secretary to raise concerns directly – but was told “if they went ahead with this meeting they would be disciplined”.

Davidson said: “What has it come to when public servants with experience and knowledge in their area are being strong-armed to keep their mouths shut because it might embarrass the Education Secretary?”

Sturgeon said that was unacceptable and insisted teachers and other public servants can raise concerns with her and her ministers.

“Teachers should be free to contact me as First Minister,” she said.