Following the overwhelming result in the recent ballot, the pay settlement for 2022-2024 has now been agreed via the SNCT. The SEJ spoke to the lead EIS negotiator, Salaries Convener and Chair of the Teachers’ Side of the SNCT, Des Morris and asked him some key questions about the negotiations and the final deal.
It’s been a long process to get to this point – can you tell us about the negotiations, and if there is a sense of relief that agreement has now been reached?
Negotiations were prolonged. It took over a year from submission of our pay claim to finally reach agreement. This is a situation we wish to avoid in future. We should not be placed in a situation again where our members have to resort to strike action to reach agreement on pay.
What led to the Salaries Committee deciding to ballot on accepting the final offer with a recommendation to accept?
We made clear in negotiations that, given the period of time that had elapsed since we submitted our pay claim, we would only consult members on an offer which the committee felt it could recommend that members accept. With the offer of 3rd March, the committee felt it had reached that point, but ultimately members would, of course, have the final say.
As part of the agreement, the settlement date for future pay awards has been moved from April to August. What impact will this have on future pay negotiations?
The shift in the annual pay settlement date will prevent delays to settlements resulting from parliamentary and local government elections which draw out and stagger negotiations and enable money that should be in members’ pockets to sit in the bank accounts of government and employers for months and months longer than it should. It will also enable clear separation of the SNCT negotiating process from that involving other local government unions.
What do you think finally pushed the agreement over the line, after a negotiation and dispute process that dragged on for more than a year?
I have no doubt that without the solid strike action of our members, the offer of 3rd March would not have been tabled. The prospect of more targeted strike action, set for the following week, also placed substantial pressure on politicians. It should never have been necessary for our members to take such action. Strike action will always be a last resort and we hope such action will not prove necessary again in the future.
There’s been some confusion and speculation online over the status of the final 2% element payable in January 2024 – can you clear up what that particular payment is?
The final 2% element of the increase is applied with effect from 1st January 2024 and will come on top of the previous 7% and 5% increases which apply from 1st April 2022 and 1st April 2023 respectively. The annual pay settlement date thereafter will be 1st August each year.
This deal runs from April 2022-August 2024, so when will negotiations for the next scheduled pay settlement commence?
The Salaries Committee will formally discuss this going forward but we will undoubtedly seek negotiations which ensure the next pay settlement is, unlike this one and indeed previous ones, paid on time.
to all members for your tremendous support throughout the pay campaign. From voting in ballots, to forming strong and visible picket lines – it is by standing together with your colleagues that you have delivered a pay settlement for all of Scotland’s teaching professionals.