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Education round-up—Say no to the new offer for Scotland’s teachers

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Issue 2639
Campaigning for 10 percent in Glasgow

Campaigning for 10 percent in Glasgow (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

Scottish teachers in the EIS union are balloting on a new pay offer, with a recommendation to reject.

In October of last year EIS members voted overwhelmingly to reject a pay offer. This was backed up by a huge demonstration attended by 30,000 people.

The union is campaigning for a one-year 10 percent increase to at least partly redress the 24 percent loss in real earnings over the last ten years.

A ballot for strikes was due to start on Thursday this week, but a late offer was put to the union.

The details were not public as Socialist Worker went to press. But a meeting of the EIS National Council voted by 47 to 45 to consult members on the new deal with a recommendation to reject.

The press claims the new offer is 12 percent, but this would be over three years. Activists need to campaign to reject the offer and reinstate a strike ballot.

Charlotte Ahmed

Vote Jo McNeill & UCU Left

Elections in the UCU union were set to begin on Friday of this week.

The UCU Left, which Socialist Worker supports, is backing Jo McNeill for union vice president.

Jo won 41 percent of the vote when she stood for general secretary in 2017 against incumbent Sally Hunt.

She has stressed the need to “build UCU from below” and to have a fighting leadership in the union.

Activists are encouraging workers to invite Jo to hustings.

UCU Left is also backing Carlo Morelli for president of the UCU in Scotland.

Left candidates for the union’s national executive committee include Paul Anderson, Lesley McGorrigan, Allister Mactaggart, Dave Muritu, Naina Kent, Richard McEwan and Saira Weiner.

Voting ends on 1 March.

Go to and for more details

Now turn teacher votes into action

Groups of teachers in the NEU union have met to discuss the fight over pay and school funding following an indicative ballot.

The ballot asked whether members were prepared to strike to secure a 3.5 percent pay rise for all teachers, and to demand more money for schools.

Some 84 percent of sixth form college members and 82 percent of members in schools backed strikes.

And teachers unanimously voted in favour of the union continuing to fight funding cuts.

The turnout of 31.4 percent was high compared to other ballots held in the NUT union, now part of the NEU. But it is below the Tories’ 50 percent threshold for legal strikes.

It’s unclear what the union will do next, but some groups of workers have made clear that they want to fight now.

In Brighton, an NEU general meeting last week voted to strike. Brighton and Hove NEU had the second highest turnout in the indicative ballot, of 56 percent.

Stefan Simms is divisional secretary of the union in Ealing, west London, which scored the highest turnout of 63 percent. He told Socialist Worker, “In Redbridge and Waltham Forest, NEU members have met and said they want to move to a ballot to secure better pay.

“At the moment they get outer London pay and they already have a campaign running to get inner London pay.

“Some activists are exploring ways to prosecute a London funding and a London weighting campaign in tandem with securing a national ballot over funding and pay.”

  • Education unions this week made a submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body calling for an “emergency” 5 percent rise for teachers next year.
  • School support staff in England are set to vote on taking action over pay, terms and conditions and workload. Around 250,000 workers represented by the Unison union have until 5 March to vote in a consultative ballot.

Permanent jobs won at Open University

UCU union members at the Open University (OU) have voted by 94 percent to accept a new permanent contract.

The contract gives more than 4,000 OU lecturers better job security. Previously, lecturers were at risk of losing their jobs if student numbers dropped on their module. Now redundancy would be a last resort.

The contract also gives workers more leave and paid time off for professional development. The UCU said it also hopes to secure more improvements in the future.

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