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Truce on new disciplinary code

The Educational Institute of Scotland has struck an interim deal with South Lanarkshire in the union's dispute over a new disciplinary code for teachers (TESS, June 7). An industrial tribunal hearing that was due to consider the case this month has been postponed.

The agreement means South Lanarkshire will continue to operate disciplinary and grievance procedures inherited from Strathclyde. The EIS claims the changes are a breach of contract and infringe a European Union directive that protects terms and conditions as staff transfer to a new employer.

The council wants to harmonise conditions for all staff, with no separate agreements and negotiating rights for teachers and has set up an interim committee drawn from the education and personnel committees. This will handle teacher appeals against dismissals, disciplinary warnings and grievances.

Ken Wimbor, the union's assistant secretary, said that if substantial agreement was reached by March the union would withdraw its application to the tribunal.

He added that the breathing space would allow time for consultation and said the absence of adequate discussion between the two sides was one of the major grounds for the decision to go to a tribunal.

Argyll and Bute has already decided to press ahead with similar changes which will be imposed from February 3 after failing to reach agreement with the EIS during consultation. The union is currently taking legal advice.

West Dunbartonshire is also believed to be considering a move to an all-staff code. The three councils point out that the revised contracts allow for a new internal right of appeal once a decision to dismiss a teacher has been taken.

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