COUNCILS have been accused of “procrastination” over pay negotiations.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said there was growing anger at the failure to reach a deal.

The EIS and other unions are campaigning for a 10 per cent pay increase for teachers through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) - which brings together union, councils and the Scottish Government.

However, Cosla, the umbrella body for local authorities, is arguing

teachers should be offered a three per cent rise in line with other council workers - describing the offer in March as “best and final”.

Local authorities argue offering a higher sum to teachers would break the traditional practice of offering all council workers the same amount.

However, Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said teachers were being used as a “political pawn” in a wider public funding dispute.

In a letter Cosla’s leadership group he said: “I am writing to express the frustration of Scottish teachers at Cosla’s continuing procrastination in terms of this year’s pay negotiations and, also, to express our growing anger at Cosla’s attempt to use the plight of teachers as a political pawn in its own dispute with Scottish Government.

“The EIS is very clear that we have distinct bargaining machinery in the tripartite arrangement of the SNCT.

“Cosla needs to respect the integrity of the SNCT negotiating machinery and support a pay settlement for teachers that will address the problems of recruitment and retention, highlighted in our submission.”

Mr Flanagan called on Cosla to recognise the legitimacy of the teachers’ pay claim and the challenges which Scottish education continues to face.

“The EIS is committed to achieving a negotiated settlement through the SNCT and we hope that Cosla will demonstrate that it shares this commitment,” he added.

A Cosla spokesman said: “Everyone associated with the SNCT negotiating process is working extremely hard to find a solution to a very difficult pay round.

“We have already confirmed with both Scottish Government and the teachers unions that we will meet them in early September to resume talks and hopefully we can find a mutually agreeable solution.”