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Voice and EIS are not united

Let us be clear that Voice and the EIS do not stand together ("Other side of the EIS debate", 1 July 2011).

It is important to realise that there were no guarantees from Cosla or the Scottish Government in return for the revised package of pay and conditions (which Voice: the union for education professionals rejected) that targeted various groups of teachers.

A cut in pay was never part of the discussions. There was never any guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies, only a statement to the effect that councils would strive to avoid them.

Surely the purpose of national negotiating machinery is for each side to promote the best interests of the people they represent, not to meekly accept proposals which conflict with their members' interests out of fear of losing their national negotiating machinery.

Our negotiating machinery should be robust enough to enable an agreed outcome to be reached. National bargaining has been seriously compromised because of behind-the-scenes meetings outside that negotiating machinery, so it is somewhat invidious to make this point.

What has been agreed to date by the EIS is separate from the McCormac review. However, Cosla and the Scottish Government will feel they are pushing at an open door because the EIS has capitulated so easily.

There is provision for local authorities to vary national agreements in many respects, and this already happens and will continue to do so, irrespective of whatever the anonymous correspondent believes.

Maureen Laing, senior professional officer (Scotland), Voice: the union for education professionals, Edinburgh.

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