Article by Jim Halfpenny EIS member (personal capacity) 9th April 2011
Despite a 98% rejection by EIS members of COSLA’s initial proposals on pay and conditions and an 85% vote for industrial action, the EIS leadership has recommended acceptance of a second offer which is almost identical to the first offer. At a time when billions of pounds have been handed over to the super rich and bankers bonuses are once again on the rise, this so called leadership is recommending:
1. A two year pay freeze – which will amount to a 10% cut in wages
2. Supply teachers will be paid at the lowest point of the scale no matter their experience for each time they work for up to 5 days and only for 25 hours instead of the 35 hours paid to all other teachers. This is a potential 47% cut in their earnings. Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary earns over £93,000 a year.
3. Payments to teachers on maternity leave and those who are ill during annual leave will be removed.
4. Payments for new qualifications under the chartered scheme are suspended and the whole future of the scheme is under threat from the government inspired McCormac review.
5. Conservation payments are to be phased out by 2016 and teachers will lose any pension based on their previous salary.
6. Despite a proposal to ensure that teacher numbers are maintained for a year, the agreement only commits councils to this “as far as possible”. Any guarantee of future teacher numbers is not worth the paper it is written on.
Despite EIS branches in schools and Local Associations throughout the country condemning this sell-out and calling for industrial action Ronnie Smith blindly states “The evidence from schools, and in particular from the previous ballot, is that there is little appetite currently in the profession for such a strategy”.
Local reps have been threatened with disciplinary action and warnings not to use EIS structures to argue against these proposals. The EIS website, which is asking for teachers views on these proposals, has systematically blocked most teachers who oppose this sell-out.
Teachers must reject this betrayal. It is not acceptable that education, health care and other public services should have to pay for an economic crisis caused by the greed of the rich and the privileged.
It is not acceptable that teachers and other workers in the public sector have their wages cut while individual bankers get bonuses of millions of pounds.
It is not acceptable that educational provision faces massive cuts while big business manages to avoid paying £120 billion in tax.
The threatened teachers strike in Renfrewshire shows what can be done. The attempt by that council to remove 60 teaching posts and replace them with lower paid seasonal staff was swept aside as teachers and parents rose up against it and forced councillors into a humiliating climb down.
It will come as no surprise to teachers that their leaders, once again, are working ‘hand in glove’ with the employers and have given new meaning to the words, “though cowards flinch and traitors sneer”.
Teachers must show their strength by rejecting this offer and go on to remove their treacherous leadership before they can sell out even more conditions in the coming McCormac Review.
REJECT THE OFFER