The result of last month’s EIS Scottish teachers’ union ballot was a 98 percent rejection of the pay offer on a 74 percent turnout.
This came after a fantastic demonstration of more than 30,000 teachers in Glasgow in October in support of the 10 percent pay claim. That means that at least half of the entire union membership turned up on that day, an incredible statistic.
The councils and the Scottish government are obviously worried, but the union leadership is also acutely aware of the depth of feeling among the members.
December is a “negotiating window” but the union has scheduled an emergency meeting in January that could give the go-ahead for a statutory strike ballot, cutting out the usual consultative ballot.
A strike will definitely be needed as John Swinney, the Scottish education secretary, has said the money is not there to finance a deal that’s more than 3 percent.
Unfortunately the Sunday papers this week were full of articles calling into question the 10 percent claim and comparing this to the offer given to other council workers.
Rather than giving solidarity, other union leaders are complaining that teachers are being treated differently.
Activists in the EIS need to continue campaigning to put pressure on our negotiators and prepare for effective strike action as early as possible in 2019.