The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Teachers’ union threaten to strike unless wages rise
TEACHERS are threatening a wave of crippling strikes unless they receive pay rises.
Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, yesterday signalled it was prepared to take action that could disrupt pupils’ education.
At its general meeting in Perth the union claimed teachers’ pay has fallen behind promised levels.
Members backed a motion saying failure to reach a deal on this would result in them balloting members on possible action, including strikes, that could hit schools in the 2018-19 academic year.
General secretary Larry Flanagan said ‘soaring workloads’ and ‘recruitment challenges’ facing the profession meant they must be paid ‘an appropriate level’. Salaries convener Helen Connor warned: ‘We’ll be out on industrial action if we don’t get action on pay.’
The EIS says promises made in the 2001 McCrone deal on teachers’ pay have not been honoured.
The motion instructed the union to ‘prepare a campaign to restore salaries to the values of the McCrone settlement, based on inflation, and to negotiate on this basis for next year’s settlement, from the start of the academic year in 2018-19’.
It added: ‘Failure to reach agreement would result in a ballot of members to begin a campaign of industrial action.’
Mr Flanagan said: ‘Following more than a decade of declining pay, real-terms pay cuts and pay freezes, the mood of teachers is hardening.
‘Today’s votes on pay and potential industrial action highlight that this issue must be addressed urgently by local authorities and the Scottish Government.’
Scottish Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: ‘For ten years, the SNP has taken teachers for granted, slashing their numbers by 4,000 and cutting resources year on year. No wonder we have a recruitment crisis in our schools.
‘As a result of SNP mismanagement of education, college lecturers have already had to strike. It would be a disgrace if teachers were also forced to do that to get John Swinney to pay attention to his day job.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘We are committed to freeing up teachers to do what they do best – teach – and have acted to reduce teachers’ workload.
‘Teachers’ pay and conditions are matters for the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers. Negotiations are ongoing and the Scottish Government will play its part in that process.’
‘The SNP has taken teachers for granted’