Teachers turned out in force this morning as they joined picket lines at every East Renfrewshire school and staged a rally outside the council’s headquarters.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union are currently engaged in 16 days of rolling strike action, with teachers in two of Scotland’s 32 council areas walking out each day until February 6.

Those working in East Renfrewshire downed tools today, which saw all primary and secondary schools in the area closed, as well as the Isobel Mair School.

Around 300 teachers joined the rally at Eastwood Park, in Giffnock, straight from picket lines outside their place of work as they step up their demands for an improved pay deal.

Des Morris, East Renfrewshire Local Association secretary for the EIS and convener of the union's salaries committee, told the Barrhead News: “We were very pleased at the turnout but not surprised at it and the strength of feeling of our members.”

Those gathered heard from Mr Morris and Olivia Cook, vice-president of the EIS local executive, who addressed the crowd.

“The message that our members were given was that they need and deserve this pay rise,” said Mr Morris, a primary teacher with 25 years of experience.

“Teachers have faced year upon year of nil and sub-inflationary pay deals and this has meant the value of their pay has declined by a quarter since 2008.

“If we are going to recruit and retain experienced staff in education, teachers have to paid properly.

“The Scottish Government has called for compromise on all sides but there is no compromise on their part.

“We are willing to negotiate but it is the same old offer, essentially five per cent, that has been on the table since mid-August of last year and there has been no movement from the Scottish Government on that.

“Our pay claim was lodged in February of last year and it is now a year since that pay claim was lodged and a year in which our members have had no cost-of-living increase so far.”

A meeting was held on Friday with the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) - the body tasked with coming up with teacher pay deals, made up of the Scottish Government, Cosla and teaching unions.

Following the talks, which ended without a deal being struck, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the meeting had been "constructive."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We remain in talks with unions and recent dialogue has explicitly been focused on the potential areas of compromise with a view to reaching an agreement which is acceptable to all sides and resolving this dispute. The current offer is the fourth that has been put to unions.

"The union demands for a ten per cent increase for all teachers - even the highest paid - is not affordable within the Scottish Government's fixed budget and a more pragmatic approach is needed before we can reach a compromise.

"The Scottish Government values the hard work that our teaching workforce put in for our learners and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring they receive a fair pay deal.

"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."