Smith warns councils of bust-up over pay freeze

15th June 2001 at 01:00
David Henderson reports from Perth on the pressure building up in staffrooms to harden the union's case for a 'radical adjustment' to internal assessment

THE EIS has warned local authority leaders to award psychologists, advisers and music instructors 10 per cent pay rises without preconditions if they want to avoid being taken to an industrial tribunal.

Ronnie Smith, in his general secretary's address, said the three groups had been treated "shamefully" following the McCrone settlement. The express aim of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities was to break their "umbilical" link with teachers. They are the only groups not to receive a pay award so far.

"If we have to go to tribunal to enforce the instructors' contractual right to a link with teachers' pay, that is what we will do. I warn Cosla to waken up to the dangers of their stance," Mr Smith said.

Already, educational psychologists were nearly impossible to recruit and some were leaving to set up in private practice. Councils could end up paying through the nose for services that should be provided in-house.

In a sinificant aside, Mr Smith added: "If they continue down this road, the louder will become questions about what role they should have in school education at all. We want to support local authorities' role in education, but that support is not unconditional."

The general secretary said much detailed work was still going on to put flesh on the McCrone deal. The list includes job-sizing procedures, a code of practice on the use of temporary contracts, revision of salary placement regulations, introduction of the chartered teacher programme and the development of a winding down scheme towards retirement.

Mr Smith warned: "There are some teachers who will take longer than others to recognise the value of the new professional obligations it places upon them. There are headteachers and directors uncomfortable with having to discuss rather than dictate. And there are politicians at council and national level who resent what they view as a deal that is too favourable to teachers.

"But we voted 81 per cent to accept it and it is our moral obligation to do all we can to make a success of it."

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