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Local teachers from the EIS teaching union are now threatening industrial action over the plans by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to co-ordinate the timing of classes between different secondary schools to expand the range of courses available for pupils in the smaller schools. 

The EIS Western Isles’ Local Association said today (Friday May 6) that it welcomes comments from the Director of Education, Skills and Children's Services, William MacDonald, regarding the ongoing harmonisation of secondary timetables.

Local Association Secretary, Karen Graham, said “It is useful to have these commitments from the Director in writing because we have not yet seen a written proposal for the harmonisation of timetables and online learning provision.

"There is clearly a lot of misinformation and alternative facts flying around. All our members want is to be properly consulted and any changes to our working conditions negotiated via the established channels.

"If the Comhairle continues to flout the collective bargaining forum that we have agreed, then our members will be forced to take action over this dispute.

"We don’t want it to come to that. We want the best educational provision for our pupils; we don’t simply want one which is designed to raise revenue or to be the cheapest.” 

The EIS reports that Mr Macdonald referred to "the ongoing harmonisation of secondary timetable and digitalisation of teaching and learning."

In correspondence with the EIS, Mr MacDonald is reported to have said “Teaching digitally is voluntary and we will not be cutting any jobs.”

The union says that he went on to say “No decisions will be taken before we (EIS Local Association and education department representatives) meet and hopefully that meeting will take place next week.”