Teachers Offered [Pounds Sterling]200m Deal and No Extra Hours

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Byline: STEPHEN SMITH

TEACHERS in Scotland were yesterday offered a new pay deal which drops the key demand of a longer working week.

But last night the country's biggest union recommended rejection of the offer.

Local authority bosses came up with an extra [pounds sterling]10million towards the [pounds sterling]200million package.

They dropped a key demand of more working hours and offered a wage rise which averages 15 per cent over three years, but continued to insist on major changes in the career structure and conditions of service in state schools.

Protracted negotiations between the local authorities and the main teaching unions have threatened to bring chaos to classrooms, with the possibility of industrial action before Christmas. The leader of the council team yesterday called on unions to recommend their members accept the latest offer.

Danny McCafferty, education convener with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: 'I think to reject this offer would be an absolutely tragedy. This offer is for the good of the pupils, the education service and the teachers, and we firmly believe that teachers are the key to modernising and improving the service.' But within hours of the proposal being put on the table, the Educational Institute of Scotland's advisory committee unanimously backed its rejection.

The recommendation will go to the ruling executive next Friday before the union's 46,000 members are balloted on whether to accept or reject the deal.

General secretary Ronnie Smith said: 'There has been an improvement in the offer but we do not feel that our main concerns have been addressed.

'We are keen to continue talking with the management but we would rather try to seek agreement over next year's pay rather than for three years.

Fifteen per cent over three years is no more than inflation for a profession which is already well behind others. …