HC Deb 18 February 1970 vol 796 cc402-3
22. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received this year from the teaching profession concerning salaries and the teachers' pay structure.

Mr. Millan

Only one teacher has written to my right hon. Friend this year about salaries. The profession's collective views are expressed through its representatives on the Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee.

Mr. Monro

In view of the forthcoming statement on English salaries and the worsening situation in Scotland, has the management side really made its last offer? Can the hon. Gentleman try to further negotiations so that we can avoid strikes which are so damaging to everyone?

Mr. Millan

Negotiations are, of course, going on, and I do not quite understand what the hon. Gentleman means by this. I very much deplore the fact that the teachers have decided to take strike action while negotiations are continuing.

Mr. Hannan

As these negotiations have been conducted all along under the threat of a strike, due to start next week, can my hon. Friend give us information about this new development of teachers striking today? Was he informed, was the employers organisation informed, and were any of the other parties to the negotiations informed that the teachers were striking today?

Mr. Millan

As I understand it the strikes that have taken place have come on at 24 hours' notice, called by one of the teachers' organisations, and I must say that I consider it grossly irresponsible for any teachers' organisation to go on strike at such short notice. It is absolutely deplorable because it so much affects the children concerned.

Mr. MacArthur

Would the hon. Gentleman try to encourage negotiations? Does he not agree that the strikes will harm education and spoil the professional status which teachers seek?

Mr. Millan

I have already said that I deplore the strikes and the predicted strikes. As for negotiations, the Salaries Committee meets again on 20th February, this Friday. Negotiations are continuing. What we shall have to wait for is a reaction from the teachers' side to the offer made by the management side on 6th February. As I say, negotiations will be taken from there.