Speculation about changes to teachers' conditions of service

Dear Colleagues

Speculation about changes to teachers' conditions of service

Many of you will be aware of recent speculation in the press and elsewhere about attempts by COSLA to change those parts of the McCrone deal they dislike. Shortly after the budget announcement on Wednesday 17 November John Swinney wrote to the leaders of all Scottish local authorities confirming the following arrangements. COSLA agreed to protect the number of teacher posts as far as possible in order to secure:

• places for all probationers who require a place under the induction scheme in August 2011;

• Sufficient teaching posts available for all probationers who achieve Standard for Full Registration in summer 2011 (i.e. successfully complete their probation); and

• A reduction in the total number of unemployed teachers.

The use of the phrase ‘as far as possible' suggests that any reliance on this ‘promise' would be at best misplaced. Previous promises regarding teacher employment have been conveniently forgotten almost as soon as the ink dried. In return the Scottish Government agreed to support proposals for:

• A pay freeze in 2011/12 and 2012/13 for all employees (teachers and all associated professionals);

• An increase in contact time for probationers to 0.9 FTE;

• Agreement that all supply teachers are paid on Point 1 of the Main Grade Scale and only for hours worked;

• Removal of salary conservation;

• Agreement that the Teacher leave year is moved to 40 days per annum for the calculation of family leave entitlements; and

• Freeze entry into the Chartered Teacher Scheme.

You will note the absolute lack of any detailed information in these proposals, making it very difficult to be certain of likely repercussions.

The SNCT meets on 8 Dec 2010 where details of these proposals will be put to the teachers' side. Your Salaries and Conditions of Service Committee met today to discuss the likely effects of these proposals and agree our response at the SNCT. You will not be surprised to learn that the committee was unanimous in its opposition to any detriment to our conditions of service.

Your representatives at the SNCT will continue this opposition and refuse to negotiate away hard fought for conditions.

Regular updates will be posted on the website and emailed to school reps. In the meantime please encourage your colleagues to ensure they are members of a union. The future of education in Scotland may depend on the strength of our voice.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the SSTA using the email address if possible.

With best wishes

Ann Ballinger

General Secretary