Sunday, 13 January 2019

More Equal Than Others (08/01/19)

Here's an interesting story from The Sunday Times which contains a strange 'boast' from the deputy first minister, John Swinney, that Scotland's school teachers are being offered:

"a better deal that for any group of public sector workers in the UK"

Now I don't begrudge Scotland's school teachers a good pay deal, but if extra money can be found for one group of council employees - why don't cleaners, cooks, catering workers, carers clerical workers, classroom assistants etc all deserve the same?

The rest of the workforce have all experienced the same policies of pay restraint in recent years and face the same the same cost of living pressures as everyone else.

So if teachers can be regarded as a 'special case' why not apply the same logic should apply to the thousands of low paid claimants in Glasgow who are still fighting for their rights to equal pay?

I think it would be great if Glasgow claimants raised this question with the City's MSPs - contact details to follow.


EIS teachers set to reject 8% pay deal

By John Boothman - The Sunday Times
Thousands marched in Glasgow over teachers’ pay last year - ALAMY

Deputy first minister John Swinney has urged teachers to accept an improved pay deal, describing it as “a better deal than for any group of public sector workers in the UK”.

Swinney said that the Scottish government and local authorities had made a pay offer “which would see teachers receiving a minimum 8% increase between January 2018 and April 2019. We urge the teaching unions to put this to their members for approval.”

However, the offer falls short of union demands for a 10% increase and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) indicated this weekend that it will be rejected.

Teaching unions claim that the real value of teachers’ pay has fallen by 20% over the past decade and a large rise is needed to boost recruitment and retention of staff.

In October, more than 20,000 people marched in Glasgow in support of the teachers’ pay demand.

There is speculation that if a pay deal cannot be struck soon, a formal ballot on strike action is likely.

The Scottish government and councils offered a 3% pay rise for the whole profession in November, but this was rejected as “divisive” by unions.

The dispute comes as figures collated by the Scottish Conservatives show that between 2004 and 2018, the number of teachers in Scotland fell by almost 4,000.

The Tories say Scotland’s schools are experiencing a “lost generation” of teachers between the ages of 43 and 60, whom they claim are leaving the profession in droves, removing significant experience from classrooms.

Liz Smith, the party’s education spokeswoman said: “These statistics are deeply worrying in terms of the numbers of the most experienced teachers leaving the profession early. It is this retention issue which is as much a concern as the fall in the number of teachers in our schools, which has taken place while the SNP has been in power.”

A Scottish government spokeswoman said the latest statistics “showed a well-balanced age profile across the teaching profession”.

She added: “Teacher numbers are now the highest since 2010, with primary teachers at the highest level since 1980.

“We want to keep people in the profession and attract new entrants into teaching. That’s why we have increased targets for recruitment into initial teacher education and created new routes to make it more practical and flexible for people to access courses.”