Teachers at Yousaf’s former school take strike action in row over pensions

Teachers picket outside Hutchesons' Grammar <i>(Image: Newsquest/Colin Mearns)</i>
Teachers picket outside Hutchesons' Grammar (Image: Newsquest/Colin Mearns)

Teachers at the former school of First Minister Humza Yousaf will take strike action on Friday.

Members of the EIS teaching union at Hutchesons’ Grammar in the south of Glasgow voted earlier this month to take action in a row over pensions.

Some 78% of members voted in favour of action on a turnout of 86%.

According to the union, staff were sent letters over the Easter break saying they would have to sign new contracts, with the jobs of anyone who refused being advertised elsewhere.

On Friday, EIS members will take the first strike action in the history of the school – which boasts both Mr Yousaf and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar among its former pupils.

Andrea Bradley, general secretary of the union, said: “The fact that EIS members at the school backed strike action so convincingly, and have taken to the street today in protest at the school’s actions, demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst teachers at this damaging enforced change to their terms and conditions of employment.

READ MORE: Glasgow teachers at leading school plan to walk out in pension row

“The school’s actions throughout this process have been shameful – from launching a consultation amongst staff which they then ignored the result of, to issuing ‘fire and rehire’ letters to teachers over a holiday period, to telling staff that their jobs would be advertised if they did not sign up to new inferior contracts within a very limited timescale – the management of the school have demonstrated that they do not value the views and contributions of Hutchesons’ highly dedicated and highly professional teachers.

“The school must now think again, reverse its course, and reinstate teachers with their previous contractual terms and conditions.”


The situation has also prompted strike action from teachers in the NASUWT trade union.

A Hutchesons’ spokesman said: “The board of governors is extremely disappointed that the EIS union and some of its member teachers at Hutchesons’ have taken strike action.

“The board also strongly rejects accusations of ‘fire and rehire’. The school carried out a 60-day consultation which is longer than legally required to ensure it was a thorough process and not rushed. It included both collective consultation and individual consultations.

“The board has been very clear that the reason for withdrawing from the Scottish Teacher Pension Scheme (STPS) is to cap pension costs at a sustainable level to protect the jobs of teachers going forward.

“From discussions with the EIS on Wednesday when the rector and the chair of the board of governors met with a senior official, they do not believe the union shares their aim of protecting teachers’ jobs.

“Protecting teachers’ jobs in the long term was the rationale for withdrawal, that rationale remains the same today and going out on strike to express their unhappiness at the decision will not change that rationale.

“Indeed, strike action threatens the school roll, which in turn threatens teachers’ jobs.

“The board took the difficult decision to withdraw Hutchesons’ teachers from the Scottish Teacher Pension Scheme to cap a significant cost. That decision was taken following a 60-day consultation period with staff. All but one member of staff accepted the change to pension.”


The spokesman said that while Hutchesons’ is in good financial health currently, it is “necessary to take the hard decision to withdraw from the STPS to ensure that this continues to be the case”.

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The spokesman added: “The school is facing a number of financial headwinds, including the ongoing impact of the Government’s decision last year to remove rates relief and increased supplier costs across the board.

“The recently agreed national teachers’ pay award of 14% was higher than anticipated but we are pleased to have been able to implement it and indeed backdate it.”