Socialist Worker

EIS conference—anger over workloads needs to find a focus

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2508

Scottish education minister John Swinney was heckled by delegates to the EIS teachers’ union annual conference last weekend.

He was booed after laying out plans for unpopular national tests to “close the attainment gap”.

A motion calling for the “decluttering” of the curriculum brought out teachers’ anger over workloads.

But Swinney got off lightly. As finance minister he pushed through savage cuts.

Teachers should be wary of his plans for education.

The Scottish National Party has hidden huge cuts behind “reform”, such as in FE.

As in previous years, the conference was dominated by anger at workloads.


General secretary Larry Flanagan said, “We need to build the turnout for a massive vote for action” in a ballot for action short of strikes among secondary teachers that ends this week.

A botched attempt by the right to remit a motion calling for “an immediate ballot on industrial action” over workloads failed and it was passed by a huge majority.

Another motion demanding a campaign to “prepare for a restorative pay claim” to “restore wages to pre-2008 levels in 2007” was also backed overwhelmingly.

Moving the motion, Charlotte Ahmed from Glasgow argued teachers should start “using our strength as workers”.

She pointed out that pay has been cut by 12 percent and that teachers should look towards the successful West Dumbartonshire strike.

“How have they achieved this? By striking,” she said.

The EIS has multiple fights on its hands and the left needs to get better organised to win them.

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