80% vote for strike action at Hutchesons Grammar
In a consultative ballot held by EIS members at Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow, over 80% of teachers indicated their willingness to take strike action over the school’s proposal to remove them from the Scottish Teacher’s Pension Scheme or be ‘fired and re-hired’.
EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “With a 94% turnout of EIS members and an overwhelming majority voting to strike, indicating the strength of feeling on this matter, EIS reps have made it clear they want to negotiate with the school management on this proposal. The members do not want to take strike action, but they are willing to do so if the school management don’t come to the negotiating table on what amounts to a pretty drastic proposal.
“Our members want to explore the reasons for the proposal and whether there are other options available which do not include withdrawal from the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
“We understand the school roll is healthy, finances are healthy, and there is no need for cost cutting, therefore we do not know why the school is seeking to adversely impact teacher pensions – not that this would be an acceptable way of freezing costs in any case.
“EIS members are requesting that the school does not issue notices that contracts will be terminated in August. They do not wish to be ‘re-engaged’ on new contracts with poorer terms and conditions. What worker would?
“So far, management have not indicated any willingness to negotiate on their pensions proposal and associated threat of ‘fire and re-hire’, therefore it is likely that EIS members will be left with no other option but to open a statutory ballot for strike action. Members do this with a very heavy heart and in the hope that a resolution to the dispute can be found without industrial action being necessary.
“Separate negotiations are ongoing with the school for trade union recognition for the EIS and our sister trade unions. If successful, Hutchesons’ would be the first independent school in Scotland to recognise teachers’ right to collectively bargain. Members see this as a positive and progressive step in the school’s history and in keeping with the school’s core values.”