Time to stop falling behind;Letter

29th May 1998 at 01:00
AS EXPECTED the unions have accepted a pay settlement for teachers that will see them fall further behind other occupations requiring similar qualifications and possibly involving less day-to-day pressure. The management side only had to threaten a review of one aspect of conditions of service for the union negotiators to run for cover. The management had even shown them where the cover was to be found - in the tiny extra amount that they had clearly kept in reserve and which was duly "conceded" last Friday.

We have got used to Scottish teachers faring less well than their English counterparts. Even the Educational Institute of Scotland concedes that now, having for years juggled the figures to disguise the truth - a strange attitude for a union, but one prompted by desire to retain the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee and EIS dominance of the union side rather than by concern about the effect upon teachers' salaries.

No one thinks that the alternative, a pay review body like that in the south, would be ideal, but could it do worse for Scottish teachers than the existing outdated structure?

For years the EIS has sold the pass. Where is the commitment to members that was so evident in the 1970s and 1980s? Did it go when John Pollock retired? Respectability and sitting down with government officials and the Scottish CCC to talk about the curriculum seem to matter most to the Moray Place leadership now. Oh, of course, also a place at the top table of the STUC.

A combination of new teacher unionism and New Labour is bad news for teachers. And we have the outcome of the so-called millennium review yet to face.

Ronald Wilson Anniesland, Glasgow

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