On the first official day of schools reopening (today), the EIS has already lodged two collective grievances at Scottish Borders Council and Moray Council over their respective failures to facilitate phased returns of pupils but more specifically their failure to properly consult and reach agreement with the EIS and other trade unions, in line with the Scottish Government guidelines.

Lack of discussion around using the flexibility of a phased return means that staff are under intense pressure over schools reopening. The EIS, and other unions, have worked alongside Scottish Borders Council management to have updated risk assessments in place, but time is needed for these to be put in place more effectively so that all staff and youngsters can feel safe and secure on their return.

The EIS is disappointed that the request for a phased return or a 2nd in-service day was not being considered at the Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers. The Scottish Borders Council grievance asks for a phased return of pupils and Scottish Borders Council has responded by acknowledging our concerns but not acknowledging our grievance. The EIS will be pursuing this matter.

Mr Flanagan concluded, “The recent EIS national survey indicated majority support from members for industrial action if required, to ensure the safety of staff and pupils in our schools. We will always seek to resolve collective grievances through dialogue but Councils such as Scottish Borders need to engage with the EIS and not seek to bypass proper discussions by claiming a ‘corporate decision’ has been made.”