SECONDARY school teachers are threatening to take strike action after rejecting an offer of a pay increase.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) said 80 per cent of its members rejected the 5 per cent pay offer put forward by local authority body Cosla.

According to the SSTA, 70 per cent of members who took part in a ballot said they would back strike action if there’s no improved deal.

The negotiations come in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis caused by rising inflation and increasing energy prices, with Cosla locked in industrial disputes with education staff and cleansing workers in recent months.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the union, said: “SSTA members have given everything in the last number of years to keep education going and to ensure that all young people did not lose out during these difficult times.

“Teachers are walking away from the job because of the excessive workload and a poor pay offer only adds insult to injury.”

A separate dispute between council staff and Cosla was resolved last month after the intervention of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“The Scottish Government must step up to the plate and be prepared to put in place a pay offer that will retain teachers and recognise their tremendous efforts over the last few years,” Mr Searson said.

“Teachers are already struggling to keep schools running with morale very low and Cosla’s disparaging pay offer only adds to their feeling of being grossly undervalued.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “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.

“Industrial action would not be in anyone’s interest, least of all learners and parents.”