|Posted by Scottish Supply Teachers on June 15, 2013 at 8:15 PM|
"Minister weighs into supply pay row"
"Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, wants supply teachers’ pay, which was reduced for periods of five days or less in 2011, to be restored. But Cosla - which represents Scottish councils - claims the move would be unaffordable.
TESS understands that Cosla is also sceptical that pay cuts, rather than workforce planning, are behind Scotland’s supply crisis, which has resulted in schools extending assemblies and students being left in canteens because cover was not available.
Now the education secretary has entered the fray, stating at the EIS conference on Saturday that the Scottish government and the EIS are “on the same side”, implying that Cosla - the only other party at the table - is the barrier to a resolution.
Mr Russell made his comments during a question and answer session after he became the first education secretary to address the union’s annual conference.
EIS president Susan Quinn revealed that a seven-week absence in her own school had resulted in just two days’ cover. She asked if the education secretary was aware of the supply crisis and what he was going to do to tackle it.
Mr Russell admitted that there was a crisis and said action needs to be taken. The issue has to be “tackled and resolved” through the SNCT, he said, adding that the EIS and the Scottish government are “on the same side”.
Billy Hendry, a spokesman for Cosla, described Mr Russell’s comments as “disappointing and populist”.