The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Teach­ers’ union threaten to strike un­less wages rise

- By Ka­trine Bussey Society · Education · Scotland · Perth · Scottish Government · Arbeidersparty · Iain Gray · Scottish National Party · John Swinney · Scottish Labour Party

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’

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