A teaching union has hit out at the First Minister’s former school, accusing the fee-paying institution of intimidating its members, as it confirmed staff will walk out in a row over pensions.
The NASUWT union said its members at Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow would strike for four days, with the first walkout set for May 30 and 31 with another on June 7 and 8.
The union claimed the £14,000-a-year school is forcing teachers to agree to new contracts which would see their pensions downgraded or face dismissal and is using fire and rehire tactics. The school has strongly rejected these claims.
On Friday, Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said that the school had “treated hard-working teachers appallingly throughout this saga” and its members had been “subjected to intimidation by an employer whose conduct is redolent of the worst employment practices in the country”.
“Whilst our members do not want to see any disruption to pupils’ examinations, the employer has now to recognise that its actions alone have led to the escalation of this dispute,” he said.
“This is an employer that is attacking basic terms and conditions of employment because it thinks it can get away with it.
“Our members are resolute and will not be bullied.”
Both First Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar are former pupils of the school.
Mike Corbett, NASUWT national official in Scotland, said that “pleas from the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the local MP to the school to enter into negotiations with us have also been ignored”.
Last month, 87% of NASUWT members at the school voted in favour of strike action, and on Thursday members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said its members also backed a walkout as part of the dispute.
A school spokesman said on Friday: “We are obviously incredibly disappointed with the EIS ballot result and the NASUWT’s decision however the school’s position remains that, in the absence of any viable alternatives, and none were identified by teaching staff during the consultation process, current financial headwinds mean it is remains necessary to cap one of the school’s biggest costs going forward.
“The board strongly rejects any suggestion of fire and rehire.”
The spokesman added it was “confident the school is offering our valued teachers one of the most generous defined contribution schemes in the private sector”.