Salmond had private talks with EIS before pay negotiations

1st April 2011 at 01:00

EIS president Kay Barnett and First Minister Alex Salmond held private talks in the run-up to last week's revised teachers' package, TESS can reveal.

The meeting on Monday 14 March - more than a week before last week's crunch talks - was confirmed by both the EIS and the Scottish Government, but neither party would disclose whether Mr Salmond played any role in securing the additional pound;15.3 million that allowed some of the original cuts to sick pay and supply cover payments to be modified.

Drew Morrice, assistant secretary of the EIS, said Mr Salmond had invited Mrs Barnett to a private meeting at which "she took the opportunity to apprise him of teachers' concerns in relation to the SNCT (Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers)".

The EIS has given its members until 28 April to respond to its recommendation that they accept the revised proposals.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, the Scottish branch of NASUWT and Voice have all recommended rejection of the proposal from Cosla and the Scottish Government. And a Facebook campaign entitled Reject the EIS has attracted 400 followers, while a Twitter campaign, RejectEIS, is also providing a platform for teachers to voice their opposition to the deal.

SSTA general secretary Ann Ballinger said the revised offer still lacked a firm guarantee on teacher employment levels and would be to the detriment of teachers' terms and conditions.

But Mr Morrice countered that the EIS held 13 out of the 21 seats on the teachers' side, so what his union decided would carry the day.

"The other unions know that - they know they have the luxury of opposition without having to deliver. At the meeting they had no alternative strategy beyond rejection," he said.

elizabeth.buie@tes.co.uk.

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