Battle over 23 per cent pay claim

20th January 2006 at 00:00
As the Educational Institute of Scotland stepped up its campaign for higher pay and better working conditions, the Labour Government and Labour-led local authorities were drawing up battle plans in the summer of 1975.

A report of the meeting between the Scottish Office and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities reveals a unanimous view that a 23 per cent pay claim was "unreasonable and quite incapable of achievement within the resources available to local authorities".

At United Kingdom level, the Government was battening down the hatches on spending.

Bruce Millan, Education Minister, and George Foulkes, Cosla's education spokesman, agreed to take early disciplinary action against teachers who failed to carry out reasonable instructions if, as expected, the EIS's work-to-rule was extended across the country.

Authorities were taking legal advice about withdrawing pay, suspending or even dismissing those teachers taking action.

In early 1975, the EIS was pressing for two- and-a-half hours' preparation and correction time and new limits on class sizes. Its campaign called for a maximum of 35 pupils in primary. Figures from the SED confirm that 20 per cent of primary classes were over 35.

Other class limit demands were 35 in S1 and S2, 30 in S3 and S4, 25 in S5 and S6, 18 for practical, and 15 for remedial.

An analysis by SED officials revealed this would mean more teachers and more classes, 2,500-3,000 more teachers in secondary and 5,000-6,000 more in primary.

In its evidence to the committee of inquiry into teachers' pay in Scotland, the Scottish Education Department in August 1974 argued for different rates of pay for primary and secondary sectors on the basis of "rates for the job". The qualifications required for secondary teaching were "on the whole higher". First and second class graduates should also be placed higher up the pay scale, officials said.

Teachers earned under pound;3,000 in 1974.

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