In her letter of February 1, Chris Keates of teachers' union the NASUWT told readers in Scotland that her organisation opposed the recent pay settlement for teachers north of the border on the grounds that it would amount to a pay cut. She accused a critic of the deal of shedding "crocodile tears".
Teachers in Scotland received a 0.5 per cent additional increase from last December, as a result of the "re-opener" clause in the last agreement, to address higher-than-expected inflation. In England, the minister refused to allow any reconsideration of the last settlement to take account of higher inflation.
Teachers in Scotland will receive increases of 2.25 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent; in England, they will receive 2.45 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent over the next three years. The compounded increase for Scottish teachers is 7.85 per cent; in England it is 7.2 per cent.
In Scotland, the chartered teachers scheme provides salary advance for such numbers of teachers as choose to work through a programme of modules at masters level. In England, teachers advance primarily through a system of performance management and appraisal.
The NASUWT opposes the settlement in Scotland. In England, Ms Keates tells her members: "Compared with other public sector workers, clearly we have fared well."
In EIS parlance, such flexibility of views is commonly described as "quaquaversal" - or, to hold with Ms Keates's reptilian analogies, "chameleon-like".
Malcolm Maciver, Convener, Teachers' side, Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.