Scots High School Teachers Could Strike

21 June 2016, 06:26

A teaching union is to ballot its members for industrial action over workload.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) said it had "no option'' but to move to a formal ballot after its indicative ballot of 8,000 members showed the majority are prepared to go on strike over increased workloads caused by the introduction of new qualifications.

The union sought the views of its members on measures proposed by the Scottish Government to address issues such as bureaucracy, stress and workload.

Its indicative ballot found 91% of respondents are prepared to take industrial action short of strike action while 64% are prepared to strike if necessary.

SSTA general secretary Seamus Searson said the results showed teachers are "clearly unhappy with the current proposals'' to address workload concerns.

He said the union wants Education Secretary John Swinney and councils to "take control of the situation and impose limits on teacher time being spent on such activities that are taking teachers away from teaching and learning''.

"Teacher workload has been the major issue for teachers for a number of years,'' Mr Searson said.

"The recent guidance from Education Scotland and Scottish Qualifications Authority has not addressed teacher workload and SSTA cannot let the overload of teachers continue.

"In the short-term, SSTA members across Scotland are asking for some action to be taken to address the workload that is demoralising teachers in the 2016-2017 qualification cycle.

"The SSTA acknowledges the statements that John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary, has made on cutting teacher workload but teachers in schools have had promises made in the past which have not come to fruition.

"The SSTA hopes action can be taken quickly to resolve this dispute.''

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Given that we are taking steps to address the issues, industrial action by teachers would not be in the interests of anyone, least of all children and parents.

"The issues and concerns being raised by the teacher unions are being addressed. We have set out the various actions we are taking to tackle bureaucracy and free up teachers to teach, and we are already actively considering further measures.

"We are committed to reducing teacher workload and continued engagement with the profession will play a critical role in making this happen.

"We urge the unions to work with us to ensure our teachers feel supported and empowered to deliver an education system that gives all young people the chance to reach their potential.''