EIS backs strike action over increased workloads

Image caption EIS members are concerned about increased workloads

Scotland's largest teaching union has backed a campaign of action, including strikes, over increased workloads created by the new curriculum.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) also backed a ballot for industrial action to defend pensions.

Delegates at the EIS conference in Perth carried a motion for a campaign of action to be in place by December in protest against increased workloads.

The Scottish government said it had been exploring pension reform options.

Union president Susan Quinn has challenged Education Secretary Mike Russell to come up with measures to reduce the "hoops of red tape teachers have to jump through" as a result of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).

Delegates also carried a motion, from both the Glasgow and North Lanarkshire local associations, which calls on union members to urge the Scottish government to resist pressure to reduce teachers' pension benefits and increase the normal pension age, and ballot members for industrial action.

'Clear message'

The EIS has already demanded protection from having to pay more into their pension pots and proposals to extend the pension age. Union leaders have met Mr Russell and Finance Secretary John Swinney to discuss the issue.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary, told delegates that teachers who expected to retire aged 60 and who may now have to work until they are 68 presented an "unacceptable state of affairs".

He said: "The EIS has a clear message to Mike Russell and John Swinney: progress must be made on pensions or, one way or another, this issue will remain centre-stage all the way up to the referendum and even beyond that."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The Scottish government has done everything possible to explore options for pension reform with the EIS and employers over the past 12 months.

"As pensions policy is reserved to Westminster, the Scottish government and the EIS are working together to try to persuade the UK government to accept the Scottish negotiation group's proposals."

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