Credible settlement only way to ‘absolutely’ avoid exam disruption, says union

- Advertisement -

The only way to “absolutely” avoid any disruption to the exam diet is for the Scottish Government to bring more resource to the table and reach a credible settlement, a union leader has said.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) are taking their final day of strike action in the current wave of rolling walkouts on Monday, however, more action is scheduled later this month and in March.

Scotland’s Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somverville, has called on teaching unions to suspend strikes ahead of the exam period to ensure there is no disruption.

Without a deal, strikes could continue into the exam season in the spring and would mark the third exam period out of the last four years to be hit with disruption after the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021.

Andrea Bradley
EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley urged the Scottish Government to do more (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “This pay claim will have been on the desks of the Scottish Government and Cosla for a year tomorrow, it was on their desks months before last year’s exam diet began, they’ve had 12 months to bring forward an acceptable resolution to this dispute and they haven’t yet done so.

“If they wish to avoid any further disruption to children and young people’s learning, and if they wish to absolutely avoid any risk to the preparation for the exam diet, then, they have to do what is within their power and bring resource to the table that can be configured within a settlement that could be credibly considered by our members, that’s the way that we avoid any further disruption to education, and the risk of the exam diet being at all affected by the action that our members are being forced to take.”

EIS members in Inverclyde and Shetland are striking on Monday, with most primary and secondary schools shut.

Teachers strike
Shirley-Anne Somerville said the Scottish Government along with local councils and teaching unions were still ‘some way apart’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Teaching unions have demanded a 10% pay rise for their members, but the Scottish Government has ruled this out as unaffordable and has offered a 5% salary increase, though some lower paid members of staff would get a 6.85% rise.

Ms Bradley said teachers were no less deserving than other public sector workers who have secured pay settlements.

She said: “The Scottish Government took the same line with other groups of public sector workers saying there was no more money, they said that repeatedly to other groups of workers, they’ve been saying it repeatedly to teachers, but we wouldn’t anticipate that teachers would be any less deserving of additional resource being put towards their settlement than other groups of workers.

“There are all sorts of ways that the Scottish Government could do that, there are all sorts of ways that a settlement could be configured, we have made a number of suggestions as to how that could be done and as yet those suggestions have been ignored, dismissed or just had a flat no to them, and the Scottish Government and Cosla have not shown any willingness really to compromise from the 5% that has been rejected twice and that our members have taken three days of strike action now each in protest against, they have to move from that position.”

The EIS has already announced two days of national strikes, on February 28 and March 1, followed by another wave of rolling strikes between March 13 and April 21.

On Sunday, Ms Somerville, who said Holyrood and teaching unions were still “some way apart”, told the BBC it was for the teaching unions to suspend strikes ahead of the exam period to ensure there is no disruption.

She said she was “absolutely” doing everything she could to end the dispute.

Nicola Sturgeon has said her Government is doing “everything in our power” to avoid the need to use contingency plans for dealing with any disruption to Scottish exams due to industrial action from teachers.

Speaking at a press conference at St Andrews House in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said the contingency plans would be set out in full if required, but stressed she wanted to reach agreement with teaching unions to ensure they are not required.

She said the Scottish Government is She added any agreement would involve compromise on both sides and need to be fair and affordable.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.