Union war hots up in South Lanarkshire

More than 100 recently retired teachers in South Lanarkshire are to take legal action over holiday pay in the latest twist to the running disputes between the council and the teacher unions.

The Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association are challenging a decision not to pay accrued holiday entitlement after teachers retired during or at the end of the summer term. The holiday year runs to the end of August and teachers say they are owed about Pounds 1,000 for days they were unable to take, roughly four a month.

The unions say this is unlawful under the Wages Act and an industrial tribunal is scheduled for November. A council spokeswoman said it had been made "perfectly clear" that under a voluntary severance package, with up to 10 years' added service, there would be no additional payments. The council had already been generous in topping up the extra years.

The unions also resent the council's late payment of the annual pay rise, backdated to April 1. It was agreed by the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee at the end of May but 4,000 South Lanarkshire teachers only saw the increase in their September salaries.

The council spokeswoman said: "The Government has not funded any pay rises for the last few years and there was no allowance for it in the budget. The council wanted to make sure where the money was coming from." All recently retired teachers would be entitled to back pay to April 1, she confirmed.

Ken Wimbor, EIS assistant secretary, said: "With South Lanarkshire we are facing continual problems. It seems never ending."

The council last week apologised individually to all teachers after insisting they sign amended contracts. Despite what it accepts was "an administrative cock-up", changes to disciplinary and grievance procedures will go ahead, bringing them into line with other council staff. The EIS is taking the council to a separate industrial tribunal over the matter.

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