Scottish teaching union consults members on ‘safety strikes’

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, has launched a consultation on proposed “safety strikes”.

The EIS issued a survey to its teacher members across Scotland today, seeking their views on the effectiveness of coronavirus safety measures in schools.

The union said the survey will close next week and will inform the next steps it will take to be taken by the EIS to protect teachers and pupils from the potential risk of Covid-19 infection.

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Members will be able to share their views on various issues such including possible strike action, as well as teachers’ perceptions of current safety measures in their workplaces; and their attitudes to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework.

Last month EIS warned that head teachers and members of school senior management teams were facing “unsustainable” and “excessive” workloads after blended learning schemes were scrapped by education secretary John Swinney following criticism from parents. (Photo by Andy Buchanan - Pool/Getty Images)
Last month EIS warned that head teachers and members of school senior management teams were facing “unsustainable” and “excessive” workloads after blended learning schemes were scrapped by education secretary John Swinney following criticism from parents. (Photo by Andy Buchanan - Pool/Getty Images)

EIS said the strike action was one possible response to the the Scottish Government’s refusal to implement blended or remote learning at Level 4 of its regional lockdown system.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Teachers across Scotland have continued to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver a sound educational experience for young people across the country.

“This has brought significant challenges in terms of seeking to meet the educational needs of all young people while also ensuring that any risk of potential COVID-19 infection is reduced.

“With COVID infections on the rise across the country, we are again consulting with our members to seek their views on the effectiveness of COVID safety measures and on their willingness or otherwise to support ‘safety strikes’ should they be necessary.”

Mr Flanagan added, “The EIS Executive believes that Level 4 of the Scottish Government Strategic Framework should trigger blended or remote learning contingencies.

“These contingencies need to be considered even on a local basis and we are calling for discussion on how this should be done.

“We also believe that there must be full transparency around the enhanced school surveillance data and further consideration of regular proactive testing of staff and pupils, where schools remain open.”

Educations Scotland has been contacted for comment.

Last month EIS warned that head teachers and members of school senior management teams were facing “unsustainable” and “excessive” workloads after blended learning schemes were scrapped by education secretary John Swinney following criticism from parents.

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