Delegates from Scotland’s main teaching union, the EIS, met at a special general meeting (SGM) in Edinburgh last Saturday to discuss the McCormac report.
The Scottish National Party government and COSLA, the organising body for Scottish councils, commissioned the report to look into our pay and conditions. It recommends a range of fresh attacks.
There was a clear resolve not to accept McCormac’s neoliberal reforms.
Kenny Fella, a delegate from Renfrewshire, said, “The coalition has declared a civil war on working people in this country. We must do all that is required to win this war.”
McCormac’s proposals would centralise control and give unprecedented power to head teachers over teachers.
Head teachers could run schools on what many delegates called a system of patronage.
Another proposal suggests allowing non-teachers to teach classes. One council tried this earlier in the year—but the threat of strikes stopped it, along with a vociferous parents’ campaign.
This report is also part of a drive to “reform” Scottish education to compete in the neoliberal world. It proposes the same style of management as seen in England’s so-called free schools and academies.
Negotiations will now take place and any outcome will be put to members in a ballot.
The SGM made clear that Scottish teachers are not willing to accept further damaging cuts to their pay and conditions—or to education.
It was also clear that any attempt to impose change by the government would lead to industrial action.
The attacks we face on our pensions are not separate to the ones we discussed. The EIS recently voted overwhelmingly to join the pensions strike on 30 November.
The resolve of delegates to fight was clear whenever pensions were mentioned. For the first time since the 1980s schools across Scotland will be closed on 30 November.
Despite the rhetoric of support coming from politicians for the cause, but not the action, the SNP and councils across Scotland should take warning.