Teachers in Scotland are set to take a step forwards in their battle for pay and decent education on Saturday.
A large demonstration by teachers’ unions and their supporters is planned in Glasgow.
Its message is, “Value education, value teachers. Pay us what we are due—starting with delivery of our 10 percent pay claim for this year”.
EIS teachers’ union negotiators recently met with the Scottish government and local authorities’ body Cosla.
They expected to receive a better offer than the 3 percent rise already put forward.
Instead, says the union, “In an obviously pre-planned and coordinated strategy, the shutters were slammed down on any further negotiation.
“The message from the other side was stark—we are not offering you anything better, so what are you going to do about it?”
The only effective response is a redoubled campaign, a huge demonstration on Saturday and then strikes to win the full 10 percent claim.
Alison Thornton, EIS president, said, “Our take?home pay has suffered a real terms reduction of around 24 percent over the past decade. Experienced teachers, worn down by a combination of increasing workload and declining pay, are increasingly leaving the profession early.
“The EIS has negotiated in good faith. However, as we head towards the end of the year with no agreement in place, the prospect of industrial action looks increasingly likely.”
The EIS has announced there will be a ballot, beginning on Tuesday, on whether to accept or reject the bosses’ offer.
If it is for rejection there will then be more talks and then, possibly, an indicative ballot on industrial action.
Then there might be a formal strike ballot. But this is much too slow.
EIS is by far the biggest Scottish teachers’ union, but other unions are also supporting the demonstration and the 10 percent claim.
The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association plans a consultative survey of members and strongly recommending rejecting the offer. The survey will also assess members’ readiness to strike.
The NASUWT union says it is putting information out to members on the pay offer and asking for their opinions via a survey.
Charlotte Ahmed is an EIS school rep and a member of the Glasgow EIS committee of management. She told Socialist Worker, “We have to hit back against the failure to value teachers and schools.
“There has been leafleting, petitioning and meetings to build the demo. We’re being encouraged to march in our school groups.
“The momentum that comes from Saturday must not be wasted. I think we need to move much more quickly to a strike ballot and action.”