Unions say it won't stick

27th August 1999 at 01:00
TEACHERS will unite in defence of their professional autonomy, Ronnie Smith, the Educational Institute of Scotland's general secretary, stated this week after the union's salaries' committee unanimously dismissed the employers' pay and conditions' package.

Leaders of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association confirmed their opposition on Wednesday and its 6,500 members seem certain to underline that in a ballot over the next two weeks.

Mr Smith said total management control over teachers' working time had touched "a raw nerve". Preparation and marking would be squeezed and teachers would forced to do them on top of social inclusion duties, which they were not against. "This will unite the profession," he warned.

Spelling out other objections, Mr Smith said contractual working time would have gone up by 18 per cent a year, from 1,152.5 hours to 1,365, in return for an average 14.7 per cent pay rise over three years. Revisions to the professional leader scale made the proposals "even more incoherent".

Mr Smith added: "This is an absolute mess, riddled with internal contradictions. Is the grade a job, a position, a post or personal reward for excellence? Does the rationing of it mean that not more than 15 per cent of the profession are excellent?"

Twenty duties were attached to the new grade, none of which was related to the classroom. It was also unclear what relationship professional leaders would have with principal teachers who declined to become leaders.

On pay, Mr Smith said probationer levels were still inadequate and in three years starting salaries would have fallen below the average for graduates.

David Eaglesham, the SSTA's general secretary, said the changes were "too few and too insignificant".

Revised deal, page 8

Leader, page 12

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