Scotland - Battle rages: spending cuts v pay deal

11th September 2009 at 01:00

Teacher unions and councils are heading for conflict as it emerges that public spending cuts now pose a threat to employment rights and education services as well as teachers' three-year pay deal.

In Glasgow, where the local authority is leading the charge in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to reopen the teachers' pay deal and impose a pay freeze next year, unions say they face emotional blackmail to give up the pay increase or see services cut even further.

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said union representatives had been told that if teachers accepted next year's pay rise of 2.4 per cent, it would have to be paid for by cuts in services.

Hugh Donnelly, Glasgow area secretary for the Educational Institute of Scotland, called the threat to the education budget the "opening shot of a media attack".

But a source in Glasgow City Council hit back, alleging that Willie Hart, Mr Donnelly's predecessor, had tried to put pressure on the council by threatening withdrawal of EIS support for future school closures if the authority tried to reopen the teachers' pay deal.

The source added: "Some #163;5 million would be required to meet the teachers' pay increase. It will have to come from a budget somewhere in the council." EB.

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