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EIS adds its voice to calls for a single union

THE momentum for a merger between the teaching unions was given further impetus yesterday (Thursday) by Sandy Fowler, president of the Educational Institute of Scotland. But in his address to the institute's annual conference in Dundee, Mr Fowler acknowledged that members still had to be convinced of the benefits.

He hopes that the EIS and Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association "can both work together to that end and that unity will be possible sooner rather than later".

Mr Fowler confined his aspiration to the SSTA but said: "Our ultimate objective should be one union for all of Scotland's teachers and lecturers. It is at local level that the foundations for such a union will be laid."

Mr Fowler pointed out that Ronnie Smith, the EIS's general secretary, had highlighted in his conference addresses over at least the past four years the "absurdity" of having eight unions in Scotland. Mr Smith said last year that there were "no fundamental differences" between the EIS and SSTA, organisationally or on the ground.

Mr Fowler's intervention follows a call by George Sturrock, his SSTA counterpart, for the unions to grasp the "huge prize" of unity.

The EISpresident also voiced "some serious concerns" about the way parts of the post-McCrone agreement are being implemented. He said the training year for probationers had been badly handled and there must be no repeat.

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