Torn between the carrot and the whip
The employers claim that in its original form their package would be worth an average 19 per cent increase on salaries over three years and, despite delegates' pessimism, it clearly tantalised some palates.
"For the first time more than the going rate is available," May Ferries said.
Angus McCormack, executive council member from the Western Isles, said it was "on the cards" that pay scales would be enhanced and shortened, career pathways would be clearer, salary structures would be put on a professional footing and procedures for management appointments would be open and transparent.
National agreements on conditions would remain with "appropriate subsidiarity" for local negotiations. he said There would also be career breaks and agreement on lower class sizes.
Willie Hart said the management was prepared to redistribute salaries in favour of class teachers, erode the differential between management and teaching, and strengthen the position of primary teachers which would particularly benefit women.
"Support the union and ignore the Luddites," Mr McCormack implored.
The "Luddites" fought back, led by John Dennis from Dumfries and Galloway, an executive council member, who said restructuring Scottish schools as proposed by the authorities could wait until after the parliamentary and council elections. The priority must be the pay claim built round industrial action.
The notion of adding duties to justify extra pay did not go down well. "Teachers feel undervalued for the work they do now," Martin Rogan from Dumfries and Galloway declared. "If we are 16 per cent short of where our salaries should be, and the management will not even concede our claim for half that figure, then we shouldn't even be talking to them about extra hours, pay linked to appraisal or a new promoted post structure."
But David Drever from Orkney association, who is also on the executive, countered that the negotiations were now proceeding on the basis of EIS counter-proposals, which were a "distillation" of existing union policies, not the management's original proposals.