EIS union rejects teaching changes

pupils at Glasgow secondary school
Image caption The union expects a 1% pay offer for teachers to be withdrawn

Members of Scotland's largest teachers' union have rejected proposed changes to their working conditions.

EIS members voted against the changes by 59% to 41% in a consultative ballot.

The proposals included greater flexibility over working, and changes to the things teachers should and should not be responsible for.

There were also some changes to the list of agreed duties of things which should or should not be done by teachers.

The EIS expects the current pay offer for teachers to now be withdrawn.

The proposed changes were negotiated through the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) following the publication of the McCormac Report on teacher employment.

Pay offer

Among the proposals were greater flexibility over working time. For example a teacher might spend two hours more with students one week but have two hours less the next to balance this out.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The EIS has been consistent in stating that any proposals arising from discussion of the McCormac report would be subject to a ballot of our members.

"We have now completed that process and the result is a clear rejection by Scotland's teachers of the suggested changes to working conditions.

"As always, the EIS is listening to its members and will make teachers' views known to the management side at the forthcoming meeting of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers".

The union said the rejection of the proposed changes to working conditions is also likely to have an impact on the agreed 1% pay offer for teachers in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Local government body Cosla had indicated that the 1% pay offer could be withdrawn if teachers rejected the changes to working conditions.

The current pay offer also included improvements to the payment for short term supply teachers, a move being funded by the Scottish government.

Mr Flanagan added: "We will be seeking constructive dialogue with both Cosla and Scottish government on what happens next.

"No one wishes to see disruption in our schools, particularly at such a crucial phase in the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, so we will await discussion of the issues at the SNCT before deciding how to proceed.

"The ballot result, however, is indicative of the mood of teachers who after a two year pay freeze, increased pension contributions and in the face of excessive workload have simply said, 'Enough is enough.'"

Councillor Billy Hendry, Cosla's human resources spokesman, said: "Firstly I am disappointed with the outcome of the EIS ballot. Secondly I am very disappointed that our teaching workforce will now not have their back dated pay in their pay packets before Christmas.

"The simple fact is that as employers we have put together the very best components of an offer in agreement with the unions and the Scottish government.

"The offer is a package and is not open to any one of the three parties to cherry pick the bits that they like best and reject the rest.

"This offer remains on the table and will do so during our meeting with the EIS tomorrow."

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: "I am disappointed that EIS members have voted to reject the proposals.

"Obviously the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) will have to look at this matter as a matter of urgency when they meet tomorrow."

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