The largest teaching union in Scotland has announced targeted strike action in schools within the constituencies of key decision makers such as Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney.

The announcement marks one year since Scottish teaching unions submitted their pay claim for 2022-23 via the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).

The escalation of action means that, in addition to two days of national strike action already called for February 28 and March 1, and a 20 further days of rolling strikes across all local authority areas from March 13 until April 21, there will be targeted action in constituencies.

The targeted representatives are the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minster John Swinney, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish Greens' education spokesperson Ross Greer and the Cosla resources spokesperson, councillor Katie Hagmann.

The First Minister represents Glasgow Southside, while the Deputy First Minister is the MSP for Perthshire North and Somerville is the MSP for Dunfermline.

Greer represents the West Scotland region at Holyrood, but it is understood East Dunbartonshire, where he lives, will bear the brunt of the EIS action.

EIS members in four of these five areas will be called out on three consecutive days from Wednesday, February 22 – Friday, February 24 inclusive.

All five areas will be targeted for a further three days of action from Tuesday, March 7. It is expected details of the schools involved in this action on the relevant dates will be published shortly.

READ MORE: Gorbals Boys sculptures FOUND after being cut and stolen

EIS office bearers and other senior EIS representatives will take part in delivering birthday cards to mark the first anniversary of the teachers' pay claim to the Scottish Government and the council umbrella body Cosla.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: "It is deeply regrettable that the continuing inaction, obfuscation and spin from the Scottish Government and Cosla on teachers' pay has led to an escalation of our programme of strike action.

"It has now been a year since our pay claim was submitted, and teachers should have had their pay rise in their pay packet last April. Instead, the Scottish Government and Cosla initially offered a pathetic 2% pay settlement - at a time when inflation was nearly four times that amount.

"Since then, the Scottish Government and Cosla have dithered, delayed and dragged their feet while the cost of living has continued to soar."

Bradley added: "The latest offer, for a well-below inflation 5%, has now been kicking around for six months and has been rejected by Scotland's teachers twice. Our members have already taken part in three days of national strike action, and a further 16 days of rolling action across the country.

"The response from the Scottish Government and Cosla has been, essentially, nil – and this now has forced an escalation in our action. The offer of a 9% real terms pay cut, which is what is on the table, will never be acceptable."

Further periods of targeted action are likely if no new pay offer is forthcoming.

Teachers rejected a deal which would see most classroom staff receive a 5% pay increase, although the lowest earners would get a 6.85% pay hike.

Instead, the EIS is demanding a 10% increase, but Sturgeon pointed out that other local government workers had last year accepted a rise in line with the one being offered to teaching staff.

READ MORE: A&E worst figures in December to the best since May last year

Bradley said teachers were no less deserving than other public sector workers who have secured pay settlements.

She said: “The Scottish Government took the same line with other groups of public sector workers saying there was no more money, they’ve been saying it repeatedly to teachers, but we wouldn’t anticipate that teachers would be any less deserving of additional resource being put towards their settlement than other groups of workers.”

Sturgeon stressed the Scottish Government’s “very strong desire” to reach a deal to end the strikes, with the First Minister adding that the prospect of disruption to exams “would concern me”.

Contingency arrangements are being made in case strikes take place during the exam diet, but Sturgeon said: “I very much hope they are not necessary.

“We will do everything in our power to avoid any such need for contingency plans of that nature.”

She added: “I hope we will see the spirit of compromise that is necessary to reach a resolution to this dispute.”

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday, the First Minister said: “Nobody in Government, nobody in local authorities and, I am in no doubt, no teacher, will want to see further disruption to the education of young people.”

But she insisted any deal must be both fair and affordable.

On Sunday, the Education Secretary said Holyrood and teaching unions were still “some way apart”, told the BBC it was for the teaching unions to suspend strikes ahead of the exam period to ensure there is no disruption.

Somerville said she was “absolutely” doing everything she could to end the dispute.