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Tuesday, 9 January, 2001, 06:33 GMT
McConnell gives pay assurances
Graphic
Teachers have been offered a three-year deal
Education Minister Jack McConnell promised that the government will meet the costs of the McCrone report on teachers' pay and conditions in full.

He was speaking after the latest round of talks involving the Scottish Executive, unions and their employers, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), broke up without agreement.

However, the talks are due to continue later in the week and Mr McConnell's comments, made on the BBC's Newsnight Scotland programme, will be seen as a direct attempt to ease Cosla's worries.

Cosla said the exact costing of the pay and conditions package put forward by the minister is still in doubt.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell says a breakthrough is imminent
And it insisted that no deal can be struck while it is possible councils could be left to pick up part of the bill.

But Mr McConnell said: "We will meet the additional costs of the McCrone report."

The Educational Institute of Scotland warned that Monday's talks were likely to break down.

The country's largest teaching union said it had not been given enough detail on the 21.5% three-year pay and conditions package put forward at the end of last week.

However, Mr McConnell was again keen to play down the union's fears.

He said: "All of us have spent far too long on this and we are at the verge of such a big breakthrough we want to keep our eyes on that prize.

"We want to put in the extra effort over the next few days to get the details right before anything is published and before anybody is asked to support it."

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See also:

08 Jan 01 | Scotland
Teachers' pay talks break up
06 Jan 01 | Scotland
Union rules out early pay deal
06 Jan 01 | Scotland
Pay offer to Scottish teachers
21 Dec 00 | Scotland
Deal 'close' on teachers' pay
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
EIS backs boycott ballot
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