Scottish teachers strike during elections

The fight against real pay cuts for Scottish teachers has been met with repression from the Scottish government

Tuesday June 4, 2024

Issue 2908

EIS Union stands firm against pay cuts (Photo: twitter/@EISUnion)EIS Union stands firm against pay cuts (Photo: twitter/@EISUnion)

Scottish teachers oppose pay cuts (Photo: twitter/@EISUnion)

College teachers from the EIS union took action across Scotland last week and more strikes are expected to follow this week.

They are right to continue their fight over wages and other issues during the election campaign. Last week they went out on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and this week they planned action on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The wage battle dates back to 2022.

Bosses have offered a £5,000 pay rise over three academic years from September 2022. Due to the period it covers – when inflation was soaring – the ‘increase’ is actually a pay cut.

And during talks over a fourth year of the deal, bosses last week offered just a 2 percent increase – another cut in real terms.

On Monday the EIS said: “Teachers are now entering a new week of strikes with a strong turnout at the picket lines this morning. It is clear to us that EISFELA teachers will not be persuaded to give up. We will continue to fight this dispute and fight for the future of FE in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government stepped up its solidarity with bosses last week.

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Graeme Dey, supported the use of ‘deeming’ by university managements, which saw up to 100 percent of the wages of employees who took industrial action before the strike (Asos) be withheld.

Andrea Bradley, general secretary of EIS, said: “We strongly reject any suggestion that the action should be halted to prevent colleges from charging for teacher pay.

“We will end the action when university employers, assisted if necessary by the Scottish Government, finally put enough money on the table to reach an acceptable settlement.

“Past evidence clearly shows that this is more rather than less likely if our members, including Asos, engage in sustained industrial action.”

Wages are at the heart of the strikes, but so is the entire future of Scottish secondary education. One of the many cuts threatened at colleges is the closure of Scotland’s main training centers for trade union representatives. City of Glasgow College operates the TUC Education Center in partnership with the Trades Union Congress. But the council now says that may be coming to an end.

Everyone should support the strikes, and the EIS should escalate them.