Revolt against promoted jobs cull

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
David Henderson reports from the SSTA conference in Aviemore and the NASUWT conference in Seamill

NEARLY seven out of 10 principal teachers will have their posts downgraded by the national job-sizing exercise. George Sturrock, outgoing president of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, warned the union's annual conference in Aviemore last weekend that other senior staff are not likely to fare much better.

By launching a write-in campaign to the new Education Minister, the SSTA has opened a major fissure in the post-McCrone agreement and broken the fragile consensus between unions, management and the Scottish Executive.

In what was described by incoming president Alan McKenzie as a "Rorke's Drift, last ditch attempt to stop this nonsense", the SSTA is urging its 7,000 members to bombard the Executive with complaints about job-sizing.

It wants an immediate review before it is too late to alter the weightings.

Individuals will know their rating within three to four weeks. Most will have their salaries conserved if they lose out.

The confidentiality behind the PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis was finally blown by Mr Sturrock, a member of the tripartite national working group, because of the threat to the secondary sector. The SSTA believes that primary colleagues are set to benefit at the expense of promoted staff in secondaries and accuses the Educational Institute of Scotland of complicity in the carve-up.

"One of the EIS SNCT (Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers) members suggested that we had obviously been overpaying certain PTs in secondary schools for years and that the (job-sizing) toolkit would redress this," he told delegates.

Of 8,620 promoted posts, only 7 per cent - or 643 - would be unchanged, 25 per cent - or 2,112 - would benefit but 67 per cent - or 5,802 - would lose out.

"The vast majority will see the value of their post reduced and their salary conserved. What a wonderfully positive message to send to groups of people who play a critical role in the management of our secondary schools and who are critical to the continuing success of our education system in Scotland," he said.

The split of winners and losers on principal teachers is exactly the same as the overall figure but of 1,006 senior management posts, 13 per cent - or 129 - will remain unchanged, 18 per cent - or 181 - will gain but 69 per cent - or 696 - will be conserved. Of 357 headteachers, 44 per cent - or 158 - will gain higher pay but 56 per cent - or 199 - will be conserved, effectively a downgrading of post.

Mr Sturrock accused the job-sizing exercise of failing to capture the management duties of current promoted post holders and revealed that teachers would not be given any information on how to check their points score. Different calculations could have produced more favourable results.

He believed a drive for long-term savings in the secondary salaries bill was the prime force. "This means that the results of the job-sizing exercise are neither fair nor equitable. There are serious implications for the morale and self-esteem of current postholders and for future career progression," he said.

In his presidential address, Mr Sturrock said that he was fearful of the Executive's response to the national debate. "It suggests revolutionary change to me with veiled references to PPP, new management structures, collegiate working (whatever that means?) and the rolling out of the new community schools idea."

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