Town teachers urged to close down schools

GLENROTHES teachers have been urged to close their schools next Wednesday, reports MIKE DELANEY.

They have been asked to walk out and join the national strike which has been organised for St Andrews Day and which is expected to see thousands of public sector workers take part in a one day strike in protest over what are claimed to be government cuts to pensions.

The message was given to staff by the vice-president of Scotland’s biggest teachers union at a meeting in the town last week.

Susan Quinn called on Educational Institute of Scotland members to join in the action and “show the government that teachers will not accept changes to our pensions which will see us pay more, work longer and get less.

“Teachers should also be aware that alongside the attacks on their pensions comes an attack on salaries and conditions of service through the McCormac report and that the EIS has taken policy decisions at our recent special general meeting which will seek to defend our current position.”

A spokesman for the union’s Fife branch added: “For many teachers this will be the first time they have been called on to take industrial action, whilst noting the overwhelming vote in the recent ballot for industrial action to defend pensions.

“Fife EIS expects members to be on strike on Wednesday 30th November and schools to be closed.

“We know our members will show their support and demonstrate locally and nationally in their efforts to defend pensions.”

Fife Council spokeswoman said: “While it is not known how many employees will take part in the industrial action planned for Wednesday 30 November, the council is warning residents of likely disruption to normal services, including the probability of some school closures.

Members of the largest public sector trade union, UNISON and teachers’ union, the EIS have voted to strike.

Chief Executive, Ronnie Hinds said: “We are continuing to work with the trades unions to ensure that essential services, protecting the most vulnerable people in Fife, can be maintained as far as possible on 30 November.

“We are in discussion with the unions in the hope that staff working in such areas will be exempt from strike action.

“Management teams are looking at their business continuity plans and we will issue more advice to customers nearer the time.”

Education chief, Kenneth Greer, added: “As ever, we will do our best to keep schools open but, with both teaching and non-teaching staff involved in the industrial action, I think it’s inevitable that there will be significant disruption to schooling.

“Nearer the day we will give parents more information about whether their children should attend school once we have established likely patterns of disruption.

“We will also use our alerts system to notify parents and carers of any closures.

“In the meantime I would encourage parents to think about their options for childcare in case it’s needed, and to make sure their contact details are up to date, or to sign up for, school closure alerts.”