Anti Racist Education & “Super” headteachers

4 Motions were passed by Council, including Motions on the delivery of anti-racist education in schools and concern over the growing use of multi-establishment or “Super” Headteachers across the country – both moved by David Farmer (Fife).

Supporting Ukraine

Alison Murphy (Edinburgh) moved a Motion calling on support for Ukraine. Although the Motion had been written before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Motion highlighted the importance of supporting the people of Ukraine and seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis. And Amendment, proposed by Andrew Fullwood and accepted by the mover, focused on the need to support refugees displaced by the war.

Moving the Motion, Ms Murphy said, “This Motion doesn’t even begin to touch on the horror and devastation that we have seen in this conflict. Inadequate as this Motion is, I urge you to support it as we must keep the people of Ukraine in our thoughts and do all that we can to support them.”

Speaking in relation to his amendment, Mr Fullwood added, “The original Motion was obviously written before the invasion took place, so the Amendment addresses the issue of refugees from the conflict. That our country cannot offer emergency support to refugees from this conflict is a disgrace. That our borders are not open to refugees from war is absolutely scandalous. Let’s do everything we can to support Ukrainian people and refugees.”

Nicola Fisher (Glasgow) added, “What we are seeing is horrifying, the lack of humanity and compassion from our government is appalling. When you look at the number of refugees that Poland has taken in, compared to the UK, the difference is glaring. This is a disgrace and an embarrassment.”

Council agreed, and backed the amended Motion unanimously.

Future Pay Campaign Strategy

Nicola Fisher (Glasgow) won the support of Council in a Motion outlining key steps in a future pay campaign strategy for the EIS. The Motion focused on the importance of protecting proper negotiations through the agreed mechanism, the SNCT, which employers have sometimes sought to circumvent in the past.

Moving the Motion, Ms Fisher said, “This Motion is about making sure we have a free hand to negotiate fair pay settlements for our members in the future without being bound by COSLA’s ‘One Workforce’ agenda, or the calendar of elections and purdah. We have to sit around, waiting, while other people set the timescale for us. COSLA and the Scottish Government are quite happy for the clock to run down, and for time for negotiations to run out. It happens over and over again, and we need to do something about it. This Motion is about sending a strong message to the Scottish Government and COSLA that we will not allow them to delay, obfuscate and run the clock down again this year. We need to start working on this now, to get our members ready and motivated to vote in a ballot for industrial action. The one workforce agenda is being used to suppress everyone’s pay, not just ours. It is about artificially suppressing the pay of one group of workers to keep the pay settlements of all workers down. I have no confidence in COSLA and the Scottish Government to resolve our pay claim fairly. We need to act, and we need to be ready, if necessary, to ballot our members before Christmas for industrial action on pay.”

Seconding, Susan Quinn (Glasgow), said, “This Motion is about ensuring that COSLA and Scottish Government don’t run down the clock. But we also are too often the nice guy, the reasonable one, in negotiations – we cannot allow the other sides of the SNCT to take advantage of us. We need to put everyone on notice – ourselves, our members and the people we are negotiating with – that we are serious about this campaign.”

Andrew Fullwood (Glasgow), said, “This Motion is even more important, given the decision we took this morning on the recommendation to accept the pay offer for last year. COSLA is a dysfunctional organisation, but sometimes it suits them to be dysfunctional when negotiating with us on pay. We need to send a signal that we are serious, and that we are not going to be messed around.”

Salaries Vice-Convener Mick Dolan (West Dunbartonshire), added, “This kind of move is long overdue by us. The frustration of turning up at negotiating meetings to be told the other side are waiting for a COSLA leaders’ meeting, or a meeting with the Scottish Government, to move negotiations forward. It is very important that we pass this Motion to provide a sound base for our campaigning for a fair pay settlement for our members in 2022.”

Allan Crosbie (Edinburgh), said “COSLA have to be treated now as bad-faith actors in this process. They do not negotiate in good faith, and we need to call them out – strongly – on this. The benefits of the SNCT have to be explained to our members, and they need to be protected – the one workforce agenda is an attempt to circumvent negotiations at the SNCT.”

And Salaries Convener Des Morris (East Renfrewshire) said, “I 100% support this Motion, and believe it is extremely prescient. If this Motion passes at Council today, this would send an important message – to our members, and to the other parties on the SNCT. Strong support of this Motion would put a clear marker down and serve as an early warning to COSLA and the Scottish Government.”

Council agreed, and sent the message by voting in favour of the Motion.