Socialist Worker

EIS calls off strikes despite yes vote

by Andrew Fullwood, EIS council member (personal capacity)
Issue No. 2294

Thousands of teachers and lecturers in Scotland will be angered by the decision of the EIS union's executive committee to call off the strike planned for 28 March over pensions.

The executive voted by 12 to seven to call off the strike, despite a 73.5 percent yes vote in the consultative ballot on a turnout of 37.7 percent.

The deciding factor in their decision may well have been the failure of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to call a national strike.

But it seems the union ignored the fact that the NUT will call a strike in London on 28 March followed by more regional strikes.

Another factor in their decision was the opportunity to negotiate with the Scottish National Party (SNP) government in Scotland. The SNP has opened up to talks since the Tories ended negotiations in England and Wales.

We should remember that the SNP are set to increase pension contributions next month in the same way as the Tories.

And despite their rhetoric of support for public sector workers, they have said previously that they can't afford to alter the conditions imposed by the Tories.

We will have to fight them for any deal. And with important council elections coming up, a shutdown of education in Scotland could have had a huge impact.

An email sent out to members by the EIS does not rule out further action. But failure to fight now when our contributions are due to increase shows a complete lack of determination to win.

Activists in the union need to bombard union headquarters with letters, emails and motions to show their disapproval of the decision. And they must prepare to fight for more action and against any shoddy compromise. We won't work longer, pay more and get less.

The election result for EIS vice president was also announced today, with the establishment candidate narrowly winning, beating me by 5265 to 4481.

I stood as principled socialist candidate, on a clear platform of strikes till we win on pensions.

The result clearly shows that there is a significant number of people ready to fight. There is also a significant number on the executive willing to lead a fight.

With attacks on us only likely to get worse, we need to keep campaigning for a fightback.

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