Further strike action announced at FM's former private school

The union has been in dispute for many months with the school over the transfer of teachers’ pensions.

Further strike action announced at Humza Yousaf’s former school Hutchesons’ Grammar Google Maps

Teachers at the private school formerly attended by the First Minister will take further strike action following the decision of the school to go back on plans to delay the compulsory transfer of teachers’ pensions to a new scheme.

Educators at Hutchesons’ Grammar School will take a further six days of strike action on August 29, 30, 31 and September 5, 6, and 14.

After initially agreeing to delay any transfer of teachers from the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme (STPS) to the schools’ alternative defined contribution scheme, the NASUWT union said that last week the school backtracked and stated it intends to go ahead with the transfer from the start of the new academic year in August.

The union has been in dispute for many months with the school over the transfer of teachers’ pensions and members have already taken two days of strike action in May.

The NASUWT has consistently opposed the transfer of members’ pensions to a scheme which it says provides no guarantee of the level of income teachers would receive in retirement or any index-linked rises to their pension pots.

The plan previously agreed by the employer in negotiations to delay the transfer by a year was welcomed by NASUWT as a step forwards. 

However, the employer is now refusing to honour the commitments given, the union said.

Dr Patrick Roach, the union’s general secretary, said: “We warned the employer that its decision to renege on its agreements could result in further industrial action. They have failed to heed this warning and so we have been left with no other option but to announce further strike action.

“NASUWT members withdrew strike action in good faith and to respect the outcome of negotiations that had taken place. However, the employer’s behaviour throughout has shown a monumental lack of integrity.

“There is not a shred of decency in how the school is treating its teaching staff. Teachers deserve better. It is time that this school learned to practise the values and behaviours it seeks to instil in its students.

“Not only does the employer seemingly have little respect for its own staff, it is also apparently content to subject pupils and parents to further disruption and lost learning time as well.

“We have endeavoured to act with openness and integrity throughout what has been a very arduous process of trying to negotiate with this employer. It is deeply disappointing that they are not prepared to do the same.”

NASUWT’s national official in Scotland Mike Corbett, said: “In moving to force through the transfer of teachers’ pensions the employer is going against Scottish Government guidance which states that independent schools looking to withdraw from the STPS should do so on a phased basis and in a manner which protects the pension rights of currently employed teachers by allowing them to maintain scheme membership.

“Instead the employer is choosing to ride roughshod over employees’ rights by enforcing an ‘all out’ approach to pensions and threatening to sack anyone who does not accept a downgrading of their future financial security.

“Our members are not going to be bullied into giving up on this dispute and it is about time the employer recognised this. There is still an opportunity to avert this strike action but this needs the employer to agree to re-enter negotiations with us and pause the planned transfer of teachers’ pensions.”

Hutchesons’ Grammar School has been contacted for comment.

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