EIS says rejected offer fails to address union’s major concerns

eis logoThe EIS has warned the prospect of industrial action in schools has moved “significantly” closer following a failure to reach agreement on teachers’ pay and conditions at a meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT).

The union says its remains open to dialogue with employers over the summer period but has also indicated that, if substantial movement towards a settlement is not achieved by early in the new school year, that a ballot of members including the prospect of industrial action would be the inevitable result.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We have rejected the offer that was placed on the table by the employers’ side which fails to address our major concerns on excessive teacher workload, safeguarding teacher numbers, and restoring short-term supply teachers’ pay and conditions while also falling short on a fair pay settlement for all teachers.

“We remain open to further dialogue with employers over the summer months in the hope of making progress on each of these elements. However, if no progress is made by early in the new school year in August, the EIS will ballot our members on the offer, with the prospect of industrial action should the package be rejected.

“Industrial action is always an option of last resort, but teachers are growing increasingly demoralised by their excessive workload which has been compounded by a number of factors including the decline in teacher numbers and the national shortage of supply teacher availability.

“Coupled with years of real-terms pay decline during a period of pay freezes and sub-inflation level pay awards, it is understandable that teachers are now looking for a fairer deal from their employers and from Scottish Government.

“The EIS will continue to work with our sister teaching unions through the SNCT, and with the wider trade union movement, to campaign for a better deal for our public services and for fair pay and conditions for teachers and all public sector workers.”

The rejected employers’ side package offers no commitment on maintaining or enhancing teacher numbers beyond the current financial year, offers no restoration to short-term supply teacher pay or conditions, and the offer to tackle excessive teacher workload is contingent upon accepting a 1% pay uplift for 2015/16 or potentially 1.5% plus 1% over two years.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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