Picket line enthusiasm at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh during a recent national strike (Picture: EISUnion on Twitter)

EIS Scottish teachers’ union members are balloting on a new pay offer that comes after months of sectional, targeted and occasionally national strikes. The union leaders are recommending it. But Andrew Fullwood, a member of the EIS salaries committee and the national executive, explains in a personal capacity why he voted against the deal and thinks strikes should continue: 

The strike was not collapsing. Of course, there are always some cracks after prolonged action, but in most places, the strikes were strong and very well supported.

In my area, Glasgow southside, we have been part of the action targeted at particular politicians—first minister Nicola Sturgeon in this case.

The response has been tremendous. Particularly among the primary school reps there are elements of self-organisation and the beginning of strike committees. People were organising on WhatsApp groups to hold street protests after the picket lines. We planned to go to Edinburgh this week to intervene in First Minister’s Questions.

Until recently I was the branch chair, now I am the past chair. It wasn’t me organising the action. Of course, I was helping and encouraging it, but there were real signs of people doing it themselves.

Last year I was the only person on the salaries committee against the pay deal. This time there were two of us out of 15 in the room. But in the wider membership there is much greater feeling that more is possible. We’ll see if the ballot vote represents that. 

This isn’t a defeat. It’s 7 percent for 2022-23, and then 5 percent for 2023-24 plus a further 2 percent from January 2024. it’s much more than we were originally offered. But it’s still far short of inflation and our 10 percent one-year claim. It’s not where we should have been, but the bureaucracy has shut it down, they didn’t want to keep going. 

I’d say that people should vote no to the deal and keep pushing for more strikes.

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