Bulletin no 400/06 14 March 2006

Bulletin no 400/06 14 March 2006

Distribution One Per Member

1. COUNCIL 3 MARCH 2006

Council heard reports on progress on teachers pensions, developments in the “Curriculum for Excellence”, the position on “collegiality” ahead of the decision at SNCT later in the year and developments in the McCrone working groups

2. LIFE MEMBERSHIP

The Committee of Past Presidents has agreed to confer Life Membership on Bill Fitzpatrick, East Ayrshire District.The award will be presented at Congress on 12-13 May 2006.

3. STUC CONGRESS

The following three motions have been submitted by the Association.

a) CBI COMMENT ON PUBLIC SECTOR PENSIONS

Congress deplores and condemns recent statements made by officials of the CBI in relation to pension arrangements for public service workers. Congress notes with extreme disquiet that the pension arrangements of some highly paid executives within the CBI and in the private sector generally are well kept secrets but that very large payments of both a contractual and non-contractual nature continue to be made to such executives on their departure from post. It is further noted that such payments seem often not to be merited by the performance of the executives' companies during their periods of employment. Congress reminds those in such positions that comment by them on the pension arrangements of those earning only a small fraction of the large salaries paid to senior private sector officials is totally inappropriate.

b) VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

Congress recognises the continuing problems associated with violence in the workplace and notes that violence can take many forms. Congress notes with particular concern that much violent behaviour is observed among young people within the school environment and in other public places. Congress commends action intended to deal with such violence but believes that such action must include early intervention with the provision of adequate resources. Congress calls on the Scottish Executive to provide effective measures to make offenders aware of the implications of their misbehaviour, with a view to providing support, where necessary, to ensure that such behaviour is dealt with at the earliest possible stage.

c) STUDENT DEBT

Most Scottish students studying at universities in Scotland have to rely on ‘student loans' to fund accommodation, living expenses and course costs. Some also have to find fees for courses. Social work and education departments in Scotland are desperately short staffed. Meantime English Local Authorities are advertising for students to apply for Initial Teacher Education courses with ‘golden handshakes' of approximately £4,000. We need a radical solution. Congress calls on the Scottish Executive to:

• Make a commitment to the introduction of a system whereby those entering state sector employment from Higher education do so without an accumulation of debt built up as a result of the period of studies.

• Investigate in particular the widely used system of cancelling a portion of the accrued student loan for every year's service as a Teacher, Social Worker or other essential public service employee.

4. APPOINTMENTS TO TEMPORARY OR ACTING PROMOTED POSTS

The Association has noted with concern that a significant number of “temporary” or acting promoted appointments are being made without the postholder being issued with a written statement of particulars relating to the appointment and as required by the Employment Rights Act 1996.The most important point which must be specified in the written statement is the post which the teacher will return to (if any) at the end of the acting promoted appointment. In cases of “acting-up” this is generally obvious but where the acting appointment is in a different school, it is essential that the terms of the return to the previous post (if that is what the teacher believes is intended) are clearly specified in the written statement. Members who do accept acting promoted appointments are advised to be vigilant in the protection of their own interests. Further advice is available from the General Secretary.

5. PRE-RETIREMENT COURSES

Members who are considering retiring from the profession within the next two years may be interested in the pre-retirement courses which have been arranged in conjunction with Planned Futures for 22 April in Glasgow, and 10 June in Stirling. Members who wish to participate can register for either of the courses by completing the online enrolment form at https://ssta.org.uk or by telephoning the office for an application form.

6. LAWLINE SERVICE

Members are reminded of the Association's free legal advisory service Lawline. Morton Fraser Solicitors provides SSTA members with a free confidential legal advice by telephone or email. The service permits any member to seek legal advice on any issue affecting them or on which they wish details (excluding employment matters which should be directed to the General Secretary). The advice given is prompt, comprehensive, impartial, and covers Scots law as well as other jurisdictions. Advice can cover consumer matters, domestic issues, contracts, family law, estates and travel to name but a few areas. To make use of the service you can telephone on 07770 748556 or email at: Lawline@morton-fraser.com

7. TAX REBATE ON SUBSCRIPTIONS

Members are reminded that two-thirds of the annual subscription payable to the Association is allowable for income tax relief. A proforma letter detailing the subscription fees for the past six years is available from the Association office or from the website.

8. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN SSTA MEMBER?

The rights of membership are available to all members who have been SSTA members for 50 years at a cost of 1p for life. If you qualify, please contact the General Secretary.

ALBERT MCKAY, President

DAVID EAGLESHAM, General Secretary

Published on 15 November 2007 - Bulletin
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