Scottish pay negotiations not a done deal

28 Mar

To read the Scottish media, you'd think that the latest negotiations on pay and conditions for teachers in Scotland were a done deal, with talk of "acceptance likely" and unions "reaching a deal".

According to an SNP press of 23rd March, "Education Secretary Michael Russell welcomed the outcome of the teacher pay negotiations and expressed his hope that the new proposals will now be ratified by councils and teaching unions after the latest meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) reached agreement on a new pay and conditions package "

At that meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) on 23 March, a slightly revised set of proposals was presented that did not, in Voice's view, materially change the 28 February package. Voice voted not to accept the proposals, along with NASUWT, while the SSTA abstained. Surprisingly, the EIS, the largest teaching union in Scotland, is recommending that its members should accept the package.

When Voice asked its members for their views on the 28 February offer, 97% of respondents said 'no' to accepting the overall package of proposed changes to Teachers' pay and conditions.

Some of the individual proposals were accepted, but Voice members, including their representatives on Voice's Scottish Executive (SEC), remain concerned about issues such as:

  • the proposed pay freeze
  • conservation for promoted post-holders appointed before 1 April 2001
  • annual leave
  • supply teachers' pay; and
  • the proposals regarding sickness.

There was also a feeling that the McCormac Review was underway and members are concerned that if these proposals are accepted then there will be more to follow when McCormac reports and that all the hard fought terms and conditions achieved at the time of McCrone will be lost forever; this, combined with the proposed pension changes, is considered to set back the profession to the “bad old days”.

The threatened McCrone agreement is tri-partite, negotiated in the spirit of collegiality. The Scottish Government and Cosla have tried to impose changes without fully explaining the implications and, in Cosla's case, by trying to persuade teachers to accept these flawed proposals through an advertisement that made a number of incorrect statements.

Although the EIS is recommending that its members should accept the package, many of its members seem distinctly unhappy with this idea and have set up a "Reject EIS" campaign group on Twitter and Facebook. It is even making allegations about "a private meeting" between EIS and Alex Salmond.

The outcome of the negotiations is far from certain. Further details and updates can be found at www.voicetheunion.org.uk/snctpcp.

Do let us know your views .

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8 Responses to “Scottish pay negotiations not a done deal”

  1. Barbara Crane 28. Mar, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I am delighted that Voice has taken its current position on the revised proposals. No-one understands the EIS decision, least of all the EIS members I have talked to in my own school. Conspiracy theories abound… Unfortunately I fear the EIS stance may well encourage COSLA to go ahead whatever other unions think.

  2. Alan Robertson 30. Mar, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    The unfortunate truth here is that the EIS have the power in all negotiations. At the meeting of the teachers panel last week the vote was 3 against the package, 3 abstained and all 13 of the EIS delegation voted how they were told. Throughout these negotiations, and for many years previously, the EIS hierarchy have ignored the feelings of all other unions and pushed through whatever they thought was best for them. At last the membership of the EIS have started to realise that their full time, very well paid, non-teaching executives don’t even care what they think. It is all about political credibility. They think Labour will regain the Scottish Government in May and do not want to be in conflict with their real masters. (My personal opinion!)
    I was at the meeting to represent the membership of Voice. I was given a very strong mandate by the members to reject the package and on your behalf I did so.
    Follow the internal conflict of the EIS on facebook and see the very prominent additions from Richard and Allison. Feel free to enter the debate.

  3. Richard Fraser 31. Mar, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Interesting video:
    [www.rejecteis.org.uk/2011/03/our-eis-video-reply]
    and comments: [www.rejecteis.org.uk]

  4. Max 31. Mar, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    As I understand it (i may be mistaken) the membership of the EIS did not respond in sufficient numbers to allow a firm decision to be made ie. 47% of the membership let down the other members by not voicing an opinion by returning the ballot so it is unfair to blame the EIS hierarchy who can ONLY be guided by what their membership decide. By engaging in apathy and not returning ballots the members themselves are the ones that have let down the teaching profession and those that DID vote are left high and dry wondering what happened!

  5. Philip Parkin 31. Mar, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    EIS had a very high turnout for a union ballot. According to its Website, turnout in the ballot on the first offer was 57%. “The vote to reject the first offer was 97.6% (55.4% of eligible voters).”

  6. Richard Fraser 01. Apr, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Article in TESS today: [www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6075527]. EIS ballot closes Thursday 28 April.

  7. Richard Fraser 28. Apr, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Latest Voice statement: http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/snctpcp

  8. Alan Robertson 03. May, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Due to a minority of teachers the package has been accepted. 12 000 EIS members were allowed to overule every other teacher in Scotland.
    What have we been forced to accept? I do not know. Every condition in the package is open to interpretation and the EIS did not even take the time to hammer out the small print. School closure days? Will this mean that if your school closes for the snow you will have to work a day during the holidays? COSLA agreed to look at the proposal to take 95% sick pay off the table, but I have seen no proof that this will happen.
    I am also concerned that the EIS claimed to have sent out over 50 000 ballot forms. There are only 51 000 teachers in scotland. Who did they ballot? I can now only hope that the EIS members who made such a noise over the last few weeks resign. Join the other 3 unions and stop 1 group of highly paid executives running, and ruining, Scottish education.

    Alan Robertson.

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