Members of EIS Council were the first people to hear the result of the EIS ballot on the final pay offer, as the online ballot closed just as Council members were gathering in Edinburgh.
Shortly after 10am, President Andrene Bamford announced the result to Council: 90% of members had accepted, on an 82% turnout. This overwhelming ballot result, which followed a recommendation by the EIS Salaries Committee to accept the offer, demonstrated the clear desire amongst members to accept the pay settlement on offer and halt the programme of strike action in schools.
General Secretary’s report
General Secretary Andrea Bradley delivered a report on the entire pay campaign, highlighting all the actions that had been taken to secure an acceptable pay offer from a reluctant COSLA and Scottish Government.
“This has been a stressful campaign for us all. We did it, and we did it all together. Everyone has played a part in getting us to the position we are in today, and we should be proud of our achievements. We have won a better deal for our members as a result of all our efforts.”
Commenting on the first element of the pay settlement, the 7% backdated uplift for 2022/2023, Ms Bradley said, “It has been the strength of your engagement and resolve throughout the Pay Attention campaign, culminating in successful strike action over 5 days by all members that involved sacrifice of pay, and the three days of additional targeted strike action taken by members in Glasgow Southside, East Dunbartonshire – Milngavie and Clydebank, Dunfermline and Perthshire North, that forced the Scottish Government and COSLA to move from the intransigent position which they held for six months saying that 5% was all that could and would be afforded for a pay uplift for teachers for the 2022-23 period.”
“There can be no doubt that EIS members’ action during the week of targeted strikes and last week’s national strike days, plus the imminent threat of further targeted action this week, are what won the additional 2% increase”, she added.
The General Secretary noted the swift resolution to the 2023/2024 pay claim as an element of the pay deal, “EIS members’ strike action also won the increased offer of 5% for eight months of 2023-24 before another 2% in January 2024. This swift settlement of the claim for the next financial year is in contrast to the unacceptable delay in this year’s claim being settled.
“Teachers will receive the first portion of this uplift (5%) from April 1st, and will be overall better off by 12.3% compared with April 1st 2022, until December; and thereafter by a further 2% in January 2024, giving a total 14.6% cumulative increase, until August 2024.” “In the current political and economic climate, this can be seen as a win.
“Ms Bradley also highlighted the benefits of moving future pay settlement dates from April to August, aligning them with the school year, “Crucially, for future pay settlements and the continuing campaign of real-terms pay restoration, the Pay Attention campaign has won the permanent movement of the annual settlement date from April 1st to August 1st – something that COSLA, in particular, has resisted for a number of years.”
“This will prevent delays to settlements as a result of parliamentary and local government elections that draw out and stagger progress with negotiations. The shift of the settlement date should also make for clear separation of the SNCT negotiating process from that involving other local government unions.”
“The EIS has argued consistently throughout these negotiations in rejection of the One Workforce agenda and for the principles of sectoral collective bargaining to be upheld. The 1st August settlement date will set us on a much stronger footing on this going forward. That’s another win.”
Commenting on the process that led to the final settlement, Salaries Convener Des Morris said, “The negotiations were tense, but I am of the view that all the tweaking of the offer that could be done has been done – we would have got no further through negotiations.
”He added, “I am of no doubt that it was our programme of industrial action that led to this pay offer – every single member who went on strike has been instrumental in securing this pay settlement. We knew we could do it, and we did do it.
”Mr Morris went on to add, “I believe that the shift in the settlement date is in the long-term interest of our members. It is something that has been an aim of the EIS, not just in this negotiation, but in previous negotiations also.”
Convener Susan Quinn updated Council on the work of the Committee, “You can see the work of the Education Committee continues apace. There are some key and crucial pieces of work that are ongoing that will have an impact on our members over the next few months. Work on education reforms continues. We know during the pay campaign the day job continued.”
“Empowerment is key to positions we are taking on this and key to ensuring teacher voice is heard throughout and it is those classroom teachers who are most affected by this who can influence the change.”
“The Hayward Review has moved on since education committee. The Final report will be published later this year and this will see the kind of changes to assessment process within senior phase that teachers and the EIS have been calling for for quite some time.”
Employment Relations Committee
On Benevolent issues, Convener David Baxter welcomed donations that had been received from six local associations.
Ten emergency grants were authorised by the committee, and a further 31 grants totalling £90,000 were authorised. On legal affairs, the committee considered 15 cases, and was pleased to note settlements on behalf of four members totalling £240,970.
Mr Baxter also noted a huge equal pay settlement had been won for 53 members at Glasgow Clyde College. “This shows the power of taking matters to employment tribunal, and well done to all concerned,” said Mr Baxter.
Convener Nicola Fisher updated Council on the work of the Committee, including an updated member briefing on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill with the aim of adding further detail and dispelling disinformation that has been spreading online and elsewhere. The EIS website had also been updated to include a section on the GRA and Transgender Equality, said Ms Fisher.
Resources developed by the Poverty Alliance were shared with the Committee, and the EIS would be able to offer feedback on these so that updates could be made before Challenge Poverty Week.
Ms Fisher also highlighted that the EIS is currently the sole funder of this year’s Creative Competition held by the charity Show Racism the Red Card, the proposed theme of which is ‘Voices for Change’.
Support for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey
The EIS will donate £10,000, through Education International, towards disaster relief for the victims of the recent earthquake in Syria and Turkey, following a Motion proposed by Andrew O’Halloran (Dumfries & Galloway).
The Motion was seconded by Susan Quinn (Glasgow), and supported overwhelmingly by Council.
EIS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2023
OBSERVERS: The EIS Annual General Meeting will be held in the Osprey Area, Macdonald Aviemore Resort, Aviemore on 8, 9 and 10 June 2023. Any member wishing to attend as an observer should contact the General Secretary no later than Friday 5 May 2023.
FEIS: The Statutory Meeting of Fellows of the Institute will be held in the Peregrine Suite, Macdonald Aviemore Resort, Aviemore at 1.55pm on Thursday 8 June 2023.