David Henderson reports from the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association in Aviemore
SECONDARY teachers have been placed on stand-by for industrial action if the Scottish Executive fails to deliver after the McCrone inquiry into pay, conditions and structures reports at the end of the month.
In an unusually frank general secretary's report, David Eaglesham warned that the preconditions for action had not been so firmly set in three decades. "Let there be not the slightest doubt," Mr Eaglesham declared. "We will not sit here as an association and wait to be steamrollered into submission. If necessary, we will not only stand up but march.
"We are not driven by greed, or Luddism or inertia, but by the deep-seated concern for the young people whom we serve. We cannot and dare not abandon their best interests and our best interests. Sam Galbraith needs to know, and kow clearly, that his attempt to disenfranchise us in employment terms will not succeed in disempowering us in industrial terms. It may indeed only serve to strengthen our hand."
Mr Eaglesham said that the union's overwhelming rejection of proposed management reforms was evident in its two ballots. "It is abundantly clear that the depth of their discontent with pay, conditions, workload and a range of other issues has left them dispirited and disillusioned."
It was now in the hands of Mr Galbraith and the Scottish Executive whether the conditions for discontent and action were diffused.
In a final broadside, Mr Eaglesham advised delegates to "go back to your schools and prepare", for fruitful dialogue or for confrontation.
"The coming year will be as crucial as any you have experienced in your teaching career, however short or long," he concluded.