Eighty per cent back revised pay deal

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Union leaders have accepted the "hearts and minds" of many members have still to be won over to the post-McCrone deal on pay and conditions after years of suspicion and mistrust.

Eighty per cent of teachers voted to accept the revised deal in ballots conducted by the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, who represent 90 per cent of the workforce.

A combined total of 30,979 teachers backed the settlement and 7,529 rejected it, although both union leaderships recommended acceptance. One in four EIS members did not vote, as did four out of ten SSTA members.

Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary, described it as a "resounding majority" which showed teachers were prepared to sign up for change.

"Having said that, it is critically important that the deeply ingrained suspicions and concerns, felt as much by those who support the agreement as the minority who oppose it, have to b set to one side. Now we have an agreement, the next challenge is to make it work. There has to be a fundamental change in the mindset of everyone - teachers, school managers, local authorities and the Executive," Mr Smith said.

David Eaglesham, SSTA general secretary, called for major cultural change, despite the difficulties ahead. "The 20 per cent of teachers who voted against and perhaps those who did not vote at all gives an indication there is still some work to win the hearts and minds of Scottish teachers," he said.

Mr Smith described the 80 per cent acceptance as a major step in restoring the professional standing of teaching in Scotland. Members could look forward to competitive salaries and opportunities to change the way schools were run. They would also have a right to continuing professional development.

The Professional Association of Teachers Scotland announced 90 per cent of members in favour.

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