Created on: 07 Feb 2023 | Last modified: 23 Feb 2023
Yesterday was the final day of our first cycle of rolling strike action. Thank you! To each and every member who came out on strike, or if exempt, who supported the action in other ways. The length and breadth of Scotland, EIS members have been strike-strong for 16 days solid.
Thank you for your attendance on picket lines and at local rallies, resplendent in our bright pink and green campaign colours which have been emblazoned across television screens, newspapers and social media every day for these past three weeks and a day!
Collectively you have done a wonderful job of making our Pay Attention campaign visible on the streets and on our screens.
We press onwards now to the next action In pursuit of our pay claim which is as right and just now, if mot more so, when it was submitted one year ago today.
Following the conclusion of the 16 days of action, a special meeting of the national Executive Committee was held late yesterday afternoon.
In light of the fact that no new offer has been made or looks likely to be made any time soon, that 'negotiations' are not being approached as real negotiations by the Scottish Government and COSLA, and given that the Scottish Government in particular are beginning to feel the pressure - asking teacher unions to suspend their strike action, for example - the Committee agreed that the industrial action campaign would be escalated further to try to bring the dispute to a swifter resolution.
In addition to the 2 days of national strike action called for 28th February and 1st March, and the 20 further days of rolling strikes across all local authority areas from 13th March until 21st April, there will be targeted action in the constituencies of the First Minister, Deputy First Minster, Cabinet Secretary for Education and COSLA Resources Spokesperson, Councillor Katie Hagmann. Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer's East Dunbartonshire constituency area will also be targeted, since the Greens are a party of the Scottish Government and have agreed on its spending priorities. These targeted strikes are an accelerated programme of our strike action in order to seek to resolve the dispute.
Employers will be given notice that members in four of these five areas will be called out on three consecutive days from Wednesday, 22nd February – Friday, 24th February inclusive. All five areas will be targeted for a further three days of action from Tuesday, 7th March. Precise details of the schools involved in this action on the relevant dates will be circulated shortly and the members in those schools contacted.
Members striking in these areas on these dates will be paid strike pay equivalent to their whole salary deduction, from the EIS Professional Fund. Details will follow as to relevant payment processes.
Further periods of targeted action, perhaps funded by applying a levy of members, are likely if no new pay offer is forthcoming.
As ever, the EIS is clear that striking is a last resort but that it is necessary leverage when problematic employers and politicians fail to negotiate properly and/or refuse to accept their need to compromise. Both are the case within the current dispute, hence the decision of the Executive Committee yesterday.
Further information will follow in due course.
Today marks 365 days since your pay claim was submitted to the Scottish Government and COSLA. 12 months ago, on the 7th February 2022, well before the last SQA exam diet (!), the claim for 10% was put forward on behalf of Scotland's teachers.
Despite having it sitting on their desks for a whole year, the Scottish Government and COSLA have failed to prioritise it.
They hoped that a fair settlement would not be the priority for teachers that it is, they have dithered and delayed, and tried all kinds of smoke and mirrors, sophistry and divisive rhetoric to convince teachers and the public that they are justified in offering a significant real-terms pay cut of 9% to you as committed, hardworking (overworked) professionals. Their approach is failing.
The 5% offer put to you and rejected overwhelmingly in our ballots in September and then again in November keeps being brought back to the table in one guise or another, by the Scottish Government and COSLA. Each time that it reappears, they are told by EIS negotiators that 5% - a 9% real-terms pay cut - is still unacceptable and that they need to think again and look again for new money.
Now that the Pay Claim is a year old, it's way past time for the COSLA and the Scottish Government to wake up to the fact that simply doing the same thing over and over will not bring a different result! Teachers will not be worn down by pester power.
We have a simple message for the Scottish Government and COSLA - no more political football, no more games. Just fair pay… Teachers deserve it, pupils are worth it. One year on, it's well past time to start paying attention.
Look out for our national billboard campaign launching today…and some social media delights too!
Finally, Colleagues, another reminder of the national march and rally for fair pay, taking place in Glasgow on Saturday, 11th March.
We assemble at Kelvingrove Park from 10.30am, march off at 11.30am and will be rallying in Glasgow Green from 1pm.
We need to turn the streets of Glasgow shocking pink and bright green the whole length of route of the march, just as we turned the streets of the city neon yellow, back in October 2018 when we last marched for decent pay and won it.
We need everyone to be wearing and waving our campaign colours: beanies and berets; scarves, tabards and t-shirts; placards, banners and flags…More campaign merchandise is on the way as we prepare for what we plan to be a huge display of intent and support for our Pay Attention campaign.
Mark the date on your calendar, invite your family and friends, get creative with your branch on banner-making…This is going to be massive and you don't want to miss it.
I look forward to seeing everyone there in their tens of thousands!
In the meantime, draw a very quick breath because our Pay Attention campaign for fair pay keeps going- it does not even pause.