I suppose any period of 12 months in the annals of any trades union would be described as being “difficult”.
However, I would contend that the last 12 months have been particularly challenging as we have tried to come to terms with some fairly serious internal matters. It is as a consequence that I address you this afternoon slightly surreal as I imagined my days of Presidential addresses or General Secretary reports were well and truly over.
Sometimes a phrase sets the tone of our years work. Were I to choose such a phrase my choice would be “in good faith”. I used this phrase in relation to Pensions when I took over duties as acting General Secretary. It is a phrase that I continue to use and indeed a phrase increasingly used by trade union colleagues. I would have to say to you that keeping good faith has been a cardinal principle of this Association since our inception. Of that I am inordinately proud. At no time would this Association fail to act in good faith.
Therefore, during the last session, Council took a very courageous decision. It decided that the Work to Contract for which we had balloted was inappropriate given the ongoing negotiations with Scottish Government to obtain a soft landing for the UK Pensions negotiations. Now nobody embodies political cynicism greater than I. In simple terms, we regard all politicians of all parties dealing with Scottish education with the greatest of suspicion. We have witnessed in the SSTA over the decades too many examples of broken promise; too many pieces of political posturing; too many instances of cheap vote chasing. Why would the attempt to secure a Pension soft landing be any different? Read more