THE left was soundly defeated after challenging the leadership over its agreement to take part in talks with the Scottish Executive and the local authority employers. Delegates accepted the position of negotiating while leaving members free to ballot on the fate of any deal.
Sandy Fowler, the union's vice-president, arguing the leadership's case, said it was disappointing that the negotiators could not present a united front. "But whatever you think of McCrone, you cannot wish it away or walk away from it. We know what the members are thinking. They want us to negotiate, see what the package is at the end of the day and then they will decide."
Mr Fowler called on members to lift their eyes from "our usual introspection and understadable cynicism" and see McCrone as an opportunity to improve the profession and attract new entrants.
But Allan Armstrong, Edinburgh, replied: "Members say McCrone is only going one way, Millennium Review mark two."
Mr Fowler continued: "If negotiations fail or the final package is unacceptable to teachers, it will not be our fault. We will take our case to the Scottish public and explain why the McCrone report could not be the basis of an agreement between teachers, local authorities and the Scottish Executive.
"We will mount a campaign of action, including industrial action, to back up our claim and achieve justice for Scottish teachers. That is not a threat but the inevitable consequence of the failure to agree."