Largest turn-out of teachers

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THE Angus Local Association of the Educational Institute of Scotland recorded its largest attendance at a meeting last Wednesday in Langlands Primary School.

EIS president Kay Barnett addressed the meeting, during which the results of the national ballot were announced.

Members had been urged to support the national recommendation that teachers reject the package of proposed changes by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to teachers’ pay and conditions, which they did.

Hopever, the threat of strike action by members of Scotland’s largest teaching union receded following an improved deal on pay and conditions.

More than 27,000 members of the EIS had overwhelmingly voted against the earlier proposals, which included a new rate of remuneration for supply teachers and reduced sick pay.

At last Wednesday’s meeting details were given of the revised offer from the Scottish Government that guarantees teachers’ jobs and reduces the savings being looked for from education budgets by £15.31 million (£60 million was the figure identified nationally to be saved from education budgets but that is now £44.69 million).

Over 150 teachers, the largest turnout at a local meeting to date, attended to hear Mrs Barnett explain that the revised offer completely removed the threat to cut sick pay.

The new short-term Supply Rate (Scale Point 1) is restricted to engagements of five days or less, instead of eight days. Duties of such teachers are limited only to teaching and preparation and correction.

There is a clearer specification of the jobs guarantee, together with scrutiny of individual Council staffing levels, and defined sanctions for failure to meet the staffing levels promised.

After the meeting David Drysdale, Chief Negotiating Secretary of the EIS Angus Local Association said: “The EIS will ballot the membership again in relation to this revised offer but, unlike the previous offer, the national salaries committee of the EIS have recommended that this offer be accepted, as it is certainly the best that will be available.”

He also referred to the impressive turnout over the weekend in London in support of the TUC’s ‘There is a better way’ campaign against public service cuts. Kay Barnett, along with many EIS members, was present at the London rally on Saturday.