Teachers have been urged to get into a state of “strike readiness” and to escalate the intensity in the battle for a 10 per cent pay rise in 2018.
Delegates at the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 2018 annual general meeting in the Caird Hall, Dundee passed a series of motions bringing the threat of strike action in Scotland’s schools in the autumn term nearer.
Helen Connor, convener of the EIS salaries committee, raised the possibility of widespread action by saying: “If we can close every school in
Scotland in October or November of this year then we would get well beyond 10 per cent, but we need to make sure we engage the membership
in whatever deal we are offered.”
Andrew Harvey, EIS rep for South Lanarkshire, said it was time to prepare for action saying: “Let’s not kid ourselves, they will not give us anything near 10 per cent unless we fight them tooth and nail.”
In March members of the teachers’ side pay negotiation body rejected an offer of a 2 or 3 per cent pay rise, which is in line with the Scottish Government’s public sector pay policy.
The union is due to hold a mass rally on the Value Education, Value Teachers pay campaign outside the Caird Hall today.
Earlier Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, in his hard-hitting annual address, said: “It’s time for us to draw on the history of using our industrial muscle”.
Mr Flanagan said the Scottish Government would only concede to the union’s ongoing call for a 10 per cent pay increase for all teachers if they believed the threat of strike action could become a reality.
Mr Flanagan said: “In my speech back in 2012 I spoke about the EIS as a trade union being resolute, a union with a history of using its industrial muscle when required.
“We need to draw on that history now colleagues. Because this is our best chance in a decade to demonstrate the power of the EIS as a trade union.”
Mr Flanagan also said the recruitment and retention of teachers was a major part of the union’s Value Education, Value Teachers campaign.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Teachers’ pay is a matter for the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers and negotiations for 2018-19 are now underway.
“The Scottish Government welcomes the commitment from EIS to playing its part in those discussions and we will also play a full part. It should be noted this government was the first in the UK to commit to lift the 1 per cent public sector pay cap, and the teachers’ pay deal for 2017-18 reflects this commitment.