The EIS has opened a consultative ballot for members at Hutchesons’ Grammar School, an independent school in Glasgow, over proposed changes to pension provision and the threat to ‘fire and rehire’ teaching staff.

EIS members were informed in November 2022 that the school proposed removing teachers from the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme which is Defined Benefit and is administered by the Scottish Public Pensions Agency.

The school proposed, instead, a Defined Contribution scheme whereby the employer and employee contribution would be less. This Scheme is private and inherently includes more risk than the SPPA scheme which is statutory and provides pensions and life assurance for the overwhelming majority of teachers in Scotland.

The school’s consultation with teachers in November saw more than 80% of teachers say they did not wish to change pension provider. In spite of this, the school’s Board of Governors took the decision to withdraw from the pension scheme, regardless, and staff were asked to sign and return amendments to employment contracts, agreeing the pension changes. More than half of all teachers refused to agree this change or have since stated they did so under duress.

The school has told teachers they will be ‘fired and rehired’ in August if they do not agree the pension changes as the school aims to withdraw from the pension scheme on 1st September.

Andrea Bradley, EIS General Secretary, said “There has been no indication that SPPA contributions will increase in the near future, nor has the school said they are in financial trouble. Therefore, it is unclear why the school proposes this change – which will mean a cut to teachers’ pensions. The school has refused to recognise the strength of members’ feelings about this matter and has said that it is not open to negotiating on this proposal. This leaves members with little choice at the moment but to opt for a ballot on industrial action as a way of resisting aggressive threats of fire and rehire. We hope parents will stand with teachers in condemning this unacceptable move.”