Job-loss fears lead to call for ballot

20th September 1996 at 01:00
Glasgow secondary teachers are calling for a ballot on industrial action amid fears that up to 50 posts could be axed by the city council, which faces a Pounds 19 million cut to its education budget next year.

The council estimates 25-30 full- time jobs may be cut, but the Educational Institute of Scotland says it will be between 40 and 50 posts.

The council, which failed to save cash through school closures, is facing a staffing overspend. It plans a Pounds 350,000 saving by scrapping the locally-agreed additional management time in secondaries, linking staffing more to actual school rolls and cutting extra staffing in eight schools involved in compacts, the education-business partnerships.

Headteachers were told last week to scale down immediately. Willie Hart, Educational Institute of Scotland local secretary, said every secondary was affected. King's Park Secondary could lose three teachers while another secondary may lose its classics department.

Mr Hart feared permanent staff would be compulsorily transferred, a number of part-time staff would have their hours cut and staff on temporary contracts would lose their jobs.

"I have not seen so much concern and genuine anger for some time. It is causing major disruption to schools' timetabling and staffing," he said.

Helen Blair, EIS representative at King's Park, said nine departments were affected and two full-timers had been declared surplus in two departments.

She added: "It's come as a complete shock. Staff are really upset and we've sent a letter to parents explaining our concerns. Class sizes will increase and the curriculum will be unbalanced."

The 74 EIS members at King's Park have asked the executive to ballot on action.

George Gardner, depute director of education, said: "We're not going against basic staffing structures. We have no alternative but to maximise money because of the consequences for next year."

The council is facing unprecedented cuts which could strip up to Pounds 19 million from the education budget in 1997-98. Mr Gardner said the council was doing its best to reduce deficits this year.

Ian Valentine, head of Cleveden Secondary and spokesman for the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, admitted that Glasgow's directive would cause some difficulties for schools where rolls had not reached expected figures. It would be difficult to unpick parts of the timetable.

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