Teachers at schools in East Renfrewshire have moved a step closer to industrial action after council chiefs were handed a formal notice confirming a statutory strike ballot opened on October 12.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has said it will move ahead with plans to ballot members in pursuit of a fair pay settlement for teachers.

It follows an “overwhelming” result in a recent consultative ballot, where 94 per cent of EIS members voted to reject a five per cent pay offer and 91 per cent said they would be willing to move to strike action.

Andrea Bradley, EIS general secretary, said: “The issuing of the formal ballot notices, as required by law, marks a further serious warning to Scotland’s local authorities and the Scottish Government that they must improve their pay offer to teachers or face up to the reality of strike action closing schools this autumn.

“Teachers do not consider the prospect of taking strike action lightly but our members are deeply angry at the continuing dragging of feet and the series of sub-inflationary pay offers that have brought us to this point.

“Teachers are highly-skilled professionals who perform a vital job which is crucial to the entire country and they fully deserve to be paid appropriately for the essential work that they do.

“The message from EIS members could not be clearer – pay us properly or we will strike in schools across the length and breadth of Scotland.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Strikes are in no-one’s interest, least of all for pupils, parents and carers who have already faced significant disruption over the past three years.

“We are absolutely 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.”