TEACHING unions want an above-inflation pay hike which would see the average salary rise by as much as 20 per cent.

The EIS said the phased rise would bring the Scottish profession in line with the average pay for teachers in comparable countries and would bridge over a decade’s decline in wage levels.

The Teachers’ Side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) submitted its pay claim for 2017 on Friday, which it also said would bring the profession in line with average graduate salaries across the economy.

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Although it has not revealed its negotiating figure, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development states that the average salary for an unpromoted teacher in the developed world as around £43,000.

In Scotland, the equivalent post comes with a salary approaching £36,000, over £7000 less.

Union leaders have said teachers’ pay has decreased in real terms since the McCrone Agreement of 2001, which followed an independent committee of inquiry which reviewed the profession’s pay and conditions.

Formal negotiations will begin in the New Year, with settlement scheduled for April 2017. It has been claimed that successive years of real-terms reductions have had an impact upon teacher recruitment, morale and the attractiveness of the profession, while individual teachers are tens of thousands of pounds worse off as a result of pay freezes, below-inflation increases and a rise in pension contributions.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “If the Scottish Government and local authority employers are serious about attracting the best qualified people into teaching, then the real-terms decline in teachers’ pay is an issue that must be tackled.

“Cuts to staff numbers in recent years have led to a substantial increase in workload for Scotland’s teachers, at a time when their pay has been falling. This cannot be allowed to continue, so action must be taken to restore the pay of all teachers, including supply teachers, to an acceptable level.

“The evidence gathered by the EIS in support of the claim makes clear that Scotland is falling substantially behind other countries on teachers’ pay. Already, in some parts of the country, we a struggling to attract sufficient numbers of qualified teachers.

“In many disciplines, highly qualified graduates will earn substantially more straight out of university than they would after many years as a teacher. No-one comes into teaching expecting to make a very large salary, but there must be the expectation of an appropriate level of pay for such an important and demanding job.”

OECD averages for unpromoted teachers at the top of their pay grades are £41, 289 for primary, £43,029 for lower secondary and for upper secondary it £45,144.

In Scotland, which does not pay different rates for primary or secondary teachers, the current top of scale is £35,763.

Yesterday it emerged the NASUWT had sent a 26-page document to Education Secretary John Swinney to press their case for “substantial improvements to teachers’ pay and conditions” in 2017/18.

As well as calling for a pay rise, the union has proposed a raft of other changes, including removing a cap on short-term supply teachers’ pay and restoring certain maternity entitlements.

The union argues teachers have been increasingly diverted from their teaching role towards administration tasks and having to cover for absent colleagues.

The SNCT is a tripartite forum, which includes teaching unions, local authority employers and Scottish Government representatives.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Teachers’ pay and conditions of service in Scotland are matters for the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

It added that negotiations involving the SNCT,which includes teaching unions, local authority employers and Scottish Government representative, would commence towards the beginning of next year and would encourage unions “to participate fully in this process through their membership of the teachers’ side”.