The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association has taken the first formal step towards industrial action against Edinburgh City Council over its plan to cut the number of promoted posts in secondary schools.
It has served notice of formal "disputes procedures" with the council's director of children and families, Gillian Tee, warning that failure to resolve the row could lead to a ballot of members.
The council believes it can save pound;2.4 million by replacing its 460 principal teachers with 321 curriculum leaders and by reducing the number of depute headteacher posts by 15. Promoted postholders would receive three to five years' salary conservation. But the SSTA has listed a number of grievances over the introduction of the new arrangements, due to be put in place at the end of next month.
It accuses the council of:
l requiring promoted staff to apply for new posts;
l failing to comply with rules set down by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers on job-sizing and re-job-sizing;
l attempting to add to the duties of principal teachers (in current or new posts) new "whole school duties" which are "clearly senior management duties";
l requiring teachers to be interviewed for posts for which they can be the only candidate.
The two sides held a meeting earlier this week and are likely to reconvene negotiations early in the new year.
A council spokesman said: "We have met with the SSTA and they've agreed to further clarify their issues in the new year."
Earlier this year, Edinburgh's EIS local association secretary, Alison Thornton, warned the loss of promoted staff would affect the ongoing implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, staff development, support for pupils and school discipline.
The city's education leader Marilyne MacLaren responded: "There are hard choices to be made and change is not easy, but I am assured from other councils that there will be no adverse impact on learning."