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Education correspondent Kenneth Macdonald
"All union members will have to vote in a ballot"
 real 56k

Thursday, 11 January, 2001, 19:14 GMT
Union leaders accept teachers' pay deal
Graphic
Teachers have been offered a three-year deal
A breakthrough has been reached in the talks over teachers' pay in Scotland.

Leaders of the biggest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), have accepted the latest proposals from the Scottish Executive.

And the deal on pay and conditions could be rubber-stamped as early as Friday.

The union's salaries committee voted by 13 to one abstention in favour of accepting the latest proposals from Education Minister Jack McConnell.

EIS banner
Union members will have to back the deal
He described the development as "very good news".

"It is another very important step towards achieving the great prize of creating a teaching profession for the 21st century," said Mr McConnell.

The process, which has dragged on for almost three years, involved an initial set of unsuccessful negotiations which were followed by the independent McCrone Inquiry.

However, the latest round of talks has provided the breakthrough.

Under the approved deal teachers will get a pay rise of at least 21.5% by the summer of 2003.

An extra 4000 new teachers will be taken on to reduce the time they spend in class to 22.5 hours a week.

More qualifications

And 3500 more support staff will be employed to cut paperwork.

There will be fewer promoted staff, who will be paid on a new scale.

However, there will be more money for new chartered teachers, who will have to get extra qualifications and stay in the classroom.

Teachers will also be given more professional autonomy within their 35-hour working week.

A new winding-down scheme will be introduced for those approaching retirement, while the probationary period for new teachers will be reduced to one year.

The three sides - the executive, the teachers and the local authorities - are expected to meet on Friday to finalise the agreement.

Teacher in class
More teachers will be taken on
The EIS is only one of four unions involved in the talks.

But it has 80% of Scotland's teachers on its books.

However, the deal will not be signed and sealed on Friday as the unions are committed to balloting their members before that happens.

Earlier in the week the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) had warned that the exact costing of the pay and conditions package was still in doubt.

It had insisted that no deal could be struck while it was possible councils could be left to pick up part of the bill.

However, Mr McConnell moved to ease their fears by promising that the Scottish Executive would meet the additional costs of the McCrone report.

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See also:

09 Jan 01 | Scotland
McConnell gives pay assurances
08 Jan 01 | Scotland
Teachers' pay talks break up
10 Jun 00 | Scotland
EIS backs boycott ballot
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