Teachers' pensions : Scottish Government must not bypass existing negotiating procedure

1 September 2011

Parents will be concerned to learn that teachers are considering balloting on strike action to protect their pensions.

Commenting, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) General Secretary Ronnie Smith said,

"For hard-pressed teachers, the prospect of paying more of their salary into a pension scheme with the promise of working longer and getting far less at the end just might be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

This shows how seriously teachers view this issue.

I think the SNP government in Holyrood has a very serious obligation to parents and pupils to ensure we do not return to the type of industrial action which closed Scotland's schools during the 1980s.

This led to repeated school closures and gaps in teaching and learning for pupils preparing for examinations.

In the longer term there was a loss of goodwill which translated into a decline in out of school activities previously voluntarily supported by teachers.

It has taken a long time to rebuild trust between employers and their teachers and for goodwill to be evident again.

This could easily be thrown away by heavy handed action by the SNP government in Edinburgh.
The changes Labour made to the teaching profession set in place a proper procedure for resolving disputes, and it brought stability to the classroom for a decade.

These procedures are being bypassed by the SNP Government in Holyrood which has led to Teachers contemplating strike action.

I hope the SNP's Education Convener in the City will join me in calling on the government in Edinburgh to stop bypassing the existing processes for negotiating with our teachers.

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