Teachers vote for action on workload and pensions

Jim Halfpenny, EIS member and conference delegate

The biggest Scottish teachers’ union the EIS has voted at its conference to ballot its members for industrial action over Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) workload and to protect teachers’ pensions.

The unanimous vote on workload was taken when speaker after speaker condemned the way the new courses were being introduced. Especially the unreasonable burden being placed upon teachers to make CfE work.

The Scottish government is not listening to classroom teachers who now regard CfE as a “speeding juggernaut” which is clearly out of control.

A similar unanimous vote was recorded over pensions.

Over 90% of EIS members have already voted in favour of strike action in a consultative ballot earlier this year.

The mood of the conference was such that the right wing of the union offered no vocal opposition. Clearly, they understand that their treacherous role in recent years was unlikely to gain an echo among teachers.

While they have been forced into preparing for some form of industrial action they will seek a compromise (sell out) over wages and pensions.

It is therefore vital that the left and the many EIS members who want to seriously defend our terms and conditions and pensions push for not only a vote for strike action, but also demand a programme of effective industrial action, including coordinating strike action with other trade unions in dispute.

The one vote the right wing did win was the defeat of a motion calling for the voting record of each of our negotiators to be made known. Exactly who will try to sell us out is to remain secret.