Secondary school education in the Western Isles could be disrupted, but there will be no class or school closures, as further strike action is promised by teachers on Wednesday (7 December).
The teachers’ unions SSTA (Scottish Secondary Teachers Association) and NAS/UWT (the Teachers’ Union) are striking for one day this week in each council area in a dispute over pay.
A strike has been called in the Western Isles area for Wednesday, but Comhairle nan Eilean Siar expects secondary schools to be open to all students, with some possible disruption to classes.
A Comhairle statement on Friday said: “All Comhairleschools and nurseries expect to remain fully open during a day of planned industrial action by teachers on 7 December by the unions SSTA and NASUWT.
“Although schools will be open, pupils and parents in secondary education should expect timetable and organisational changes on the day to allow schools to accommodate the absence of striking staff, the majority of which are secondary teachers in this instance.
It’s possible that there may be last-minute changes to arrangements affecting our secondary schools as Wednesday approaches due to uncertainty about level of participation in the strike and other possible unscheduled staff absences.
“If your child’s school has to enact any short notice partial closure, we will aim to keep impact to an absolute minimum and the school will communicate directly with you about any such changes.”
It comes after Scotland’s teachers last week (Wednesday 30 November) issued a formal unanimous rejection of the latest pay offer from the Scottish Government and COSLA.
An SSTA statement said: “The differentiated 5% offer which was presented by the Scottish Government and COSLA represented no real improvement on their previous offer, which was rejected by teaching unions three months ago.
“…the latest divisive offer was wholly unacceptable to Scotland’s teachers….represents no improvement on the previous offer for the vast majority of teachers, and is actually a worse offer for many.”
The EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, has already announced strikes for early 2023 affecting Western Isles schools on 10 January (primary and early years schools, 11 January (secondary schools) and 3 February for all schools.
A Comhairle spokesperson said it was too early yet to assess the potential impact of these planned strikes, but a significant degree of disruption is likely on these dates.