PRIMARY schools across Scotland are expected to be shut tomorrow (Tuesday) due to a teachers' strike despite eleventh hour talks to try and end the pay dispute.

Union leaders have hit out at the "lack of urgency" in dealing with the row which will be the subject of last ditch negotiations at 3pm today (Monday).

Initial talks that came on Friday failed to register that there would any new money when unions take part in negotiations today (MON)on the eve of the strikes.

One union leader said that even if there was an offer made it probably be too late to suspend strikes expected to shut primary schools tomorrow.

The Scottish Government has said there is "potential scope for compromise" following Friday's talks.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said she hoped unions would put off the industrial action while talks were ongoing.

But unions have told the Herald there has been no new money been offered in advance of today's negotiations, and without that all the strikes will go ahead.

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SCNT), which brings together unions along with local authorities and the Scottish Government, will meet to discuss pay deal options.

Unions rejected a 5% increase, arguing for 10%, although the offer includes rises of up to 6.85% for the lowest paid staff.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, NASUWT, Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland have a mandate to strike tomorrow and on Wednesday.

Staff in primary schools are due to walk out on Tuesday, while secondary school teachers will follow on Wednesday.

Schools across Scotland are expected to shut during the industrial action.

HeraldScotland: The SSTA represents secondary school teachers

A third planned walk-out of 2023 will see 24-hour actions in different local authorities over 17 days between January 20 and February 6.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the SSTA believed the eleventh hour meeting would be too late to prevent tomorrow's primary school strikes and described today's meeting as the "last throw of the dice".

"Unfortunately, the way it is looking is there a lack of urgency to get this resolved.

"Unless they send us an offer before the meeting at 3pm I cannot see strikes not going ahead.

"If they give us another insulting offer we won't consider it. If it is a real offer on Monday we would go through our processes and possibly prevent the secondary school strikes on Wednesday. But you can see the difficulties this all causes because the schools are already aware they are closing, and the parents have made arrangements to have their children looked after. "The Tuesday action will probably have to go ahead because there isn't the time to go through the processes.

"It is a shame we have got to this position. Ourselves and the other unions were available over Xmas but no contact was made. None of us want to be on strike, I want it resolved as soon as possible.

"They have allowed the strikes to take place before Christmas and no offer was made. They seem quite content to have schools closed, which is rather surprising. Cosla spokeswoman for resources Katie Hagmann has said there was no additional funding available for an improved pay offer due to financial pressures.

But she acknowledged that reaching a "fair and affordable pay deal" would protect the workforce and those in education.

She added: "I do however, look forward to maintaining constructive and proactive dialogue, which considers all options available, with all parties so that we limit any further disruption for pupils, parents and carers, which we all agree is in no one's best interests."

Deputy First Minister John Swinney previously said there was no more money to fund public sector pay rises.

But the same was said by Mr Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon before £200m was found to fund pay rises for local authority workers in September, which allowed the lowest paid staff to get a pay increase of around 10 to 11% following the intervention of the First Minister.

Union leaders have previously warned Scots council leaders that frontline service cuts "won't be tolerated" after accepting the pay deal which end the dispute at the 11th hour that threatened to shut schools and waste disposal services.

Within days of the extra money being found, the Scottish Government said savings of £500m would have to be made.

Mr Swinney said the new pay agreements had led to a bill of £700m, which meant “taking money from elsewhere”.

The dispute saw piles of rubbish build up in city centres as waste workers went on strike.

The Scottish Government was originally only providing an extra £140m of funding on a recurring basis to support an original pay offer - while COSLA was to come up with the extra £260m.

The Scottish Government said it had effectively provided an extra £120.6m additional capital annually to fund the increase in salaries. COSLA had initially offered workers two percent then 3.5% and then 5% – all rejected outright by Unite - before the revised offer on September 2 was tabled.

The pay deal came after councils told parents that schools and nurseries would be shutting in a matter of days as industrial action was due to spread to thousands of education staff in 13 council areas.

Mr Searson added: "The teaching unions have pushed for a negotiating meeting sooner rather than later. We pushed for the meeting to take place on Monday rather than wait till after the strikes are finished. "If there is an offer, we will have to consider it. But there has to be an offer worth talking about.

"The last offer in November was just moving money, there was no new money. It didn't change the 5% for the majority of people. It was a bit of an insult that we got that offer hoping it would prevent us having the strike. There has been nothing since.

"We cannot go anywhere unless we have an offer. The employers (COSLA) even at the meeting on Friday were not in a position to make an offer to us or put anything to use We are keen to have this resolved as anybody is but it seems to be dragging on forever.

"We have said that new money has to come on the table to resolve this dispute.

"If they wanted the strikes suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday, then we should have had the offer on Friday. Then we could have considered it on Monday. "There is no indication there will be an offer. If we have a meeting tomorrow at 3pm it is cutting it very fine to suspend actions at that late stage."

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: "I was grateful for the constructive and helpful talks with the teaching unions and COSLA on Friday.

"I took the opportunity to make clear how much I value our teaching workforce and recognise the vital importance of reaching a fair and affordable settlement on pay.

"We are open to considering options to resolve this dispute, through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), and potential scope for compromise.

"I recognise that any deal must be fair and affordable for all concerned, given the unprecedented pressures facing Scotland's budget.

"The SNCT will meet again on Monday to discuss options. I hope unions will reconsider their plans for industrial action while talks are ongoing.

“Strikes in our schools are in no one’s interest – including for pupils, parents and carers who have already had to deal with significant disruption over the past three years.”