EIS was fighting right from start

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
It is a pity that Graham Souter, district convener of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association in Aberdeenshire, chose in the TESS letters page (May 20) to make cheap political capital out of a serious educational and trade union issue (management restructuring in the secondary sector) by his comment that he was glad to see the Educational Institute of Scotland "has decided to join the fight".

Mr Souter should be aware that, even if he personally has played no active part, discussions with the employer's side in Aberdeenshire over management structures have been conducted since 2001 and not for "more than six years" as he claims.

As the teaching trade union with by far the largest membership, the EIS has always been the majority stakeholder on the teachers' side in these negotiations.

The EIS in Aberdeenshire has therefore always led formal and informal discussions with our employer, including management restructuring.

It is a matter of record that,at the meeting of the local negotiating committee for teachers in Aberdeenshire (March 10, 2004), the convener of the teachers' side (EIS) made clear the unanimous opposition to the management's proposals.

This opposition was subsequently repeated by the teachers' side representative (EIS) at the Aberdeenshire education and recreation committee meeting (March 25, 2004).

The position of the teachers' side in Aberdeenshire has since been upheld consistently by EIS representatives in every meeting with the employer where management restructuring has been discussed.

It is therefore puzzling and disappointing that Mr Souter should choose to ignore these facts, distance his trade union from the united front that the teachers' side in Aberdeenshire has to date presented on this issue and put at risk the good working relationships that have hitherto existed between the EIS and SSTA in Aberdeenshire.

We can only assume that his ill-informed comments are as a result of the publication of the authoritative survey conducted by TNS System 3 on behalf of the EIS concerning teachers' perceptions of changes in promoted post structures in the secondary sector.

A case of "sour grapes", might we suggest?

Jack Barnett Pat Flanagan Aberdeenshire EIS

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