Talks are taking place on Friday between unions and the Government, as further and higher education minister Jamie Hepburn insisted the pay rise offered to teachers was “very fair”.
The deal on the table would see most most staff in classrooms receive a 5 per cent pay rise, although the lowest-earning teachers would get a 6.85 per cent increase.
And Mr Hepburn said combined with other pay rises it would mean salaries for “most teachers” have increased by 21.8 per cent since since 2018.
Teachers, however, have rejected the offer, with unions pressing for a 10 per cent rise.
With members of the EIS, NASUWT and SSTA trade unions all due to strike next week – affecting primary schools on Tuesday and then secondary schools on Wednesday – Mr Hepburn was pressed on whether more money could be found.
Asked directly if teachers would be offered more, the minister said a “very fair and affordable offer” had been made.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Hepburn stressed rising inflation meant the Government Budget was now worth less than when it was set, adding the requirement on ministers to ensure a balanced Budget meant that “we don’t have fiscal latitude”.
Speaking about the proposal made to teachers, Mr Hepburn stated: “If you actually look at what we have offered, it is 6.85 per cent uplift for the lowest paid teachers, 5 per cent for most and £3,000 for those earning £60,000 or more.
“That would representative a 21.8 per cent cumulative pay increase for most teachers since 2018.”
Asked if this was the final offer, Mr Hepburn stated: “Discussions will continue, but this is a fair and fundamentally an affordable offer and it would ensure that teachers in Scotland remain by some measure the best paid teaching staff in the UK.
“We want to make sure we have that edge for teachers in Scotland and the offer we have got on the table would ensure that.”