CALLS are being made for the government to get back to the table with teachers' trade unions to avert further strikes.

MSP Alex Rowley has called on the Scottish Government to sit down with COSLA and unions after Wee County teachers took industrial action last Wednesday, February 1, as part of a national dispute over pay.

Scotland-wide strikes have been announced for February 28 and March 1 while this week saw teachers take to the picket lines in Inverclyde and Shetland.

However, education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has been clear that demands for a 10 per cent increase for all teachers is not affordable.

Mr Rowley, representing Mid Scotland and Fife, said: "The failure by the Scottish Government and COSLA to offer teachers a fair pay settlement in recognition of the work they do simply compounds the erosion in the value of teachers' salaries at a time when more and more was being asked of our teachers.

"This is at the same time of increased cost-of-living pressures and against a backdrop of a real-terms deterioration in the value of teachers' pay since 2010.

"Across the region parents tell me of their worry of the impact of Covid on their children's education so to now compound those fears with more days lost is just unacceptable and is why I am calling on Shirley-Anne Somerville to do her job and find a resolution to this dispute before more damage is done."

The education secretary spoke with unions last Friday, February 3.

She said: "We have been clear that demands for a 10 per cent increase for all teachers – including the highest paid – is not affordable within the Scottish Government's fixed budget.

"While four offers have been made to date, these have been rejected by teaching unions.

"Further compromise is clearly required in order to secure a fair and sustainable settlement.

"Today's discussion were focused on progressing opportunities for compromise.

"There was a shared understanding that a new offer would not be made.

"Only COSLA, as the employer, can make a new pay offer through the structures of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for teachers."