EIS Gives Notice to Hutchesons' Grammar School of Statutory Ballot for Strike Action

Created on: 31 Mar 2023 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

Hutchesons' Grammar School, an independent school in Glasgow, issued letters to teaching staff saying they need to agree new contracts, with detrimental pension provision, by 14th April or their contracts will be terminated as they would have been deemed to have 'resigned'.

With only two working days' notice, EIS members have been told they will be sacked and replaced if they don’t sign the contract. EIS Reps have asked the Rector if he would be willing to meet with trade union Reps in order to negotiate regarding the pension proposal. There has been no response from the School.

An EIS spokesperson said, "We do not want to be 're-engaged' on new contracts with poorer terms and conditions; but the School is now saying that teachers will be fired if they don't agree the new contracts with an inferior pension. We wish to further explore the reasons for the proposal and whether there are other options available which do not include withdrawal from the Scottish Teachers' Pension Scheme. 

"Senior management has told the EIS that the school roll is healthy and that the school finances are healthy. There seems to be no need for cost cutting, therefore, we are at a loss as to why the school is taking this drastic action of reducing pension benefits in order to freeze costs.

"We believe removing teachers from the government-backed public pension scheme will leave teachers worse off and open to more financial risk as well as poorer in retirement. The EIS is worried this will impact disproportionately hard on younger, newer teachers in particular."

Andrea Bradley, EIS General Secretary, said, "It is outrageous that Hutchesons' Grammar School has now issued termination of contract letters, asking for the new contract to be agreed during the Spring break. Teachers at the school are effectively being threatened with losing their jobs if they don’t sign up to an inferior pension that will give them a poorer retirement relative to their current pension. 

"Staff have stood strong against this threat to their retirements, acted collectively and have avoided being picked off one by one as individuals. Staff have had no choice but to ask for a statutory ballot on strike action to defend their pensions from an aggressive employer. The EIS will continue to support all members in such circumstances, including those in the independent sector."