SCOTLAND'S largest teaching union has recommended its members accept the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government and call an end to strike action. 

The offer was formally made in writing to teaching trade unions with agreement of all 32 council leaders at a Cosla special meeting of leaders, which took place on Friday.

Andrea Bradley, the general secretary of the EIS - the largest union - said they would recommend that members accept the offer.

She said: "The salaries committee decided overwhelmingly to put the offer that came across late this afternoon to members with the recommendation to accept.

"The executive committee decided to suspend the strike campaign while members are being balloted.

"The ballot opens this evening and that will run until next Friday morning.

"It's absolutely right to point out that this offer doesn't represent the achievement of all of our aims, but we have been clear for some time that any negotiation was going to feature an element of compromise.

"We do think that this offer marks an improvement."

Speaking to the BBC, she said that strike action within targeted constituencies planned for next week would be cancelled. 

However, whether or not a wave of rolling strikes goes ahead on March 13 would depend on the result of the ballot. 

According to the Scottish Government, it would be the largest pay package given to teachers in more than 20 years - with most seeing their salaries rise by £5200 in April. 

The offer is in three parts and covers the period April 1 2022 to July 31 2024.

It offers a 7% increase with effect from April 1 last year, with a cap at a salary of £80,000 or over, where a £5,600 flat rate uplift would instead apply.

There would be a further increase of 5% with effect from April 1 this year, with a cap at a salary of £80,000 or over, where a £4,000 flat rate uplift would instead apply.

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And from January 1, 2024 there would be a further increase of 2% with a cap at a salary of £80,000 or over, where a £1,600 flat rate uplift would then apply.

Cosla’s resources spokeswoman Councillor Katie Hagmann said: “We have reached a position today whereby we sincerely hope our trade union partners can take this revised offer to their membership for a vote.

“Scotland’s council leaders fully value all of their workforce and recognise the invaluable contribution teachers make to the lives of our children and young people.

“Council leaders across Scotland are having to take really challenging budget decisions, so the funding assurances received from the Scottish Government yesterday, have now made it possible to make this revised offer to the teaching trade unions today.

“Council leaders are clear that it is in all of our interests, not least those of children, young people and families, to conclude the teachers’ pay negotiations as quickly as possible to bring back stability and certainty in our schools." 

Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Teachers make an invaluable contribution to the lives of our children and young people.

“This historic offer, if accepted by unions, would see teacher pay increase by 33% from January 2018 to January 2024.

“We have looked for compromise and we have arrived at a deal that is fair, affordable, and sustainable for everyone involved. The Scottish Government is supporting this deal with total funding of over £320 million across this year and next.

“This reflects our commitment to reach a fair agreement and avoid further disruption to children and young people’s education.

“I hope that teaching unions will now give their members the opportunity to consider this new offer and to suspend the planned industrial action next week. This would minimise any further disruption to learning, particularly in the run up to the SQA exam diet.”

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP, who was involved in the talks, welcomed the frank approach of the teaching unions during this week’s discussions and pointed to the challenges caused to public sector pay negotiations in Scotland by the actions of the Westminster government.

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He said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to make this landmark offer. If agreed, it will deliver the biggest pay uplift in two decades and allow students to get back to school. Teachers do incredible work every day and the huge respect we have for them is very much reflected in this historic proposal.

“This has been a very difficult process, largely as a result of the cuts Westminster has made to the Scottish Government's budget. That's why I appreciate the frank and constructive way in which teacher union colleagues have engaged with us over the last few days in particular.

"If teachers accept this offer, they will receive their highest pay increase in more than twenty years. I'm proud that we've been able to make such a proposal despite the massive pressures on the Scottish Government’s budget.”