*This article was first published in the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper on the 29th of January 2019*
Scotland’s largest teaching union the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) through its Council took the decision to reject the Scottish Government’s latest pay offer for teachers and will now seek to ballot members on strike action.
Over the weekend, I spoke with a teacher who, only a few years ago moved into the profession, and was struggling to make a decision on whether they would support strike action or not when the time came.
They had been struggling with sky-high rent and had no money left at the end of the month, until the bank of mum and dad was able to give them a leg up with a deposit allowing them to secure a mortgage and cut their bills dramatically.
The crux of the matter was that they were critical of John Swinney and his mishandling of the teacher pay talk, infuriated by the fact the Scottish Government were trying to go around trade unions.
However, they were keen to point out that even with a pay rise; they will still be going to the local shop to buy printing paper, paper towels or other school equipment to allow them to teach pupils.
The Scottish Government promised to make education their number one priority at the last election. Yet, teachers are forced to pay for school equipment from their own pockets.
You can’t close the attainment gap with overworked and underpaid teachers – it is now for members to decide whether to accept this offer.