The 1980s

The Herald on Sunday - - THE WEEK -

ONE as­pect of the cur­rent dis­pute that will be ir­ri­tat­ing the SNP Gov­ern­ment is the re­peated com­par­isons to the Thatcher era, when teach­ers walked out over pay.

Be­tween 1984 and 1986, the EIS led a sus­tained pe­riod of in­dus­trial ac­tion in protest over pay.

John Pol­lock, the union’s gen­eral sec­re­tary at the time, said that if the “gro­cer’s daugh­ter was go­ing to be made to lis­ten”, the EIS had to be pre­pared for a long bat­tle.

Ac­tion in­cluded “work to rule” and a se­ries of na­tional one-day strikes, which in­cluded tar­get­ing the con­stituen­cies of Tory gov­ern­ment min­is­ters. Mal­colm Rifkind, the then Scot­tish Sec­re­tary, re­sponded by an­nounc­ing an “in­de­pen­dent re­view” into teach­ers’ pay and terms and con­di­tions, after which an agree­ment was ac­cepted.

Over 30 years later, teach­ers are poised for an­other strike over pay and op­po­si­tion politi­cians are call­ing for a root-and-branch re­view of re­mu­ner­a­tion.

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