In a U-turn, the Scottish teachers’ EIS union has asked its members to accept a two-year pay freeze and sweeping changes to conditions.
Previously the EIS had conducted an indicative ballot of its members on proposals from the Scottish National Party (SNP) government and the councils’ umbrella organisation, Cosla.
An overwhelming 98 percent voted to reject the proposals and 85 percent were in favour of industrial action.
But the union’s negotiators accepted a revised deal that offered only minor concessions. They claimed members had let them down with a turnout of 57 percent in the ballot.
They believe that the national negotiating forum, the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), is under threat.
In the new agreement all sides have committed to negotiate changes through the SNCT, which wasn’t part of the original offer.
The EIS says it got the best deal for members—with minor and uncertain guarantees on jobs, the withdrawal of a threat to reduce sick pay and a massive attack on supply teachers slightly reduced.
This final attack will see temporary teachers forced to take a 47 percent pay cut and face greater uncertainty about their work each day.
For the first five days of any placement, experienced teachers will be paid at the bottom of the pay scale and only for part of each day.
There is no guarantee that councils won’t just start someone new after five days.
On top of this there will be a two year pay freeze for all teachers, changes to maternity and sick leave, a stop to the Chartered Teacher scheme that linked continuing professional development to enhanced pay, and an end to salary conservation.
The union performed their U-turn just one day after the ballot had closed. Less than an hour after meeting the employers, they had materials on the union website calling for a vote to accept in a new ballot.
This has created a lot of anger.
Some school branches have already met and are calling for a vote to reject the deal in the ballot and for the union leadership to resign.
Rank and file members now have to hold meetings in school this week to discuss motions to reject the deal. The ballot starts during the upcoming school holiday.