Today in parliament Alex Salmond praised Scottish teachers,
but refused to bow to impending strike action.
Teachers have responded by accusing the First Minister of ‘serving platitudes’.
Last week members of Scotland’s largest teaching union voted overwhelmingly to join other public sector workers in a national day of strike action on the 30th November. Salmond used first ministers questions today to praise the work of teachers. “I bow down to no-one who doesn’t recognise the contribution of Scottish teachers to Scottish Education” he said. But he also claimed that any move toward strike action was ‘premature’
“I’m a supply teacher. Our pay has been slashed already” said Scottish teacher Donna McGlynn, “but this strike is even bigger. It’s about pensions and it’s about the loss of McCrone time, meaning teachers will work more hours for less pay. It’s been over 20 years since teachers went on strike. Alex Salmond should see that we don’t do things like this lightly. It’s just platitudes. He has to see the severity of what’s going on in our profession. All these proposed changes will have a severe impact on our children’s futures, the education of generations. It’s a pebble dropped in a pond, but I fear the ripple effect.”
EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said that the 82% vote in favour of industrial action showed “The patience of teachers and lecturers has been exhausted. Faced with a wide ranging attack on their pensions, on top of a two-year pay freeze, rampant inflation and education budget cuts, our members are signalling that ‘enough is enough’.”
Salmond also accused the Westminster Government of “Poisoning the atmosphere with regard to public sector workers” but vowed that they would get fairer conditions in an independent Scotland.