TEACHERS have rejected the offer of a 2% pay rise, with union leaders insisting the proposed increase would represent a “massive pay cut” at a time when the cost of living is soaring.

Members of both the EIS and NASUWT teaching unions branded the rise inadequate – with the EIS warning it could ballot for industrial action if a “fair pay settlement” is not achieved.

The union told employers at the local government body Cosla they “must move more quickly, and far more positively, if industrial action is to be avoided”.

Confirmation that the deal has been rejected by the unions came a day after inflation across the UK increased to 9%.

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Des Morris, the EIS salaries convener and chair of the teachers’ side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), said the proposed 2% rise was “completely inadequate” and had been “summarily rejected by the teachers’ side”.

He said: “With inflation running at 9%, Cosla is effectively offering Scotland’s teachers a massive pay cut at a time when the cost of living is soaring.

“This is completely unacceptable, and the EIS expects Cosla to come back with a significantly improved offer before the next SNCT meeting on June 21.

“Scotland’s teachers deserve a fair pay increase, and they deserve it now.

“In previous negotiations, the employers have adopted delaying tactics by responding to pay claims at a glacial pace. Our members are simply not prepared to accept that any more.

“This pay increase should have been applied at the start of April but we have only just received their opening, totally inadequate, offer.

“The EIS is seeking settlement before the summer, but the employers must come back with a far better offer.”

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NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said: “Teachers are united in their message to the Scottish Government and Cosla that this pay offer is nowhere near substantial enough at a time when inflation is now running at 9%.

“We have made it clear to employers that they must come back with a significantly improved offer which recognises the increasing financial strain teachers are under and which values them for the vital work they do.”

Mike Corbett, the NASUWT national official for Scotland, added: “Teachers have now experienced years of effectively being paid less and less when the demands on them have grown and their own living costs have spiralled.

“This damaging and unfair cycle must end. We are seeking a programme of pay restoration which enables teachers to weather the cost-of-living crisis and which recognises the essential and highly skilled job they do.”

A Cosla spokesperson said: “We are in active discussions with our trade union partners regarding their pay claim.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson stated: “We are committed to supporting a fair pay offer for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers, the body that negotiates teachers’ pay and conditions of service. It is for local government, as the employer, to make any revised offer of pay.”