HC Deb 24 March 1976 vol 908 cc394-5
17. Mr. Donald Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now arrange for the immediate definition and payment of salaries to principals, depute principals, assistant principals and heads of departments in further education colleges and central institutions in Scotland, and for full implementation of the Houghton Report Stage 2.

Mr. McElhone

So far as further education colleges are concerned, I understand that the Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee agreed on 4th March to the final determination of salaries payable to heads of departments and higher grades of staff. As regards implementation of other aspects of "Houghton Stage 2", I understand a deputation met my right hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Department of Employment today and I will be discussing the outcome of the meeting with him. As regards staff in central institutions, I understand negotiations about "Houghton Stage 2" broke down on 17th March and I gather that they have gone to arbitration.

Mr. Stewart

I welcome such progress as has belatedly been made, but does the hon. Gentleman realise that there is great anger and frustration in the profession and among the people holding these posts because of the long time taken to bring the matter to a head? Is he aware that those concerned do not see any conflict with the wages policy and that the sooner this matter is cleared up, the better for the morale of the teaching profession in Scotland?

Mr. McElhone

I should make clear that there has been some misunderstanding among many people about stage two of the Houghton Report. Most of it has been implemented. This part of the dispute concerns restructuring and certain promotion posts in further education. Since the Labour Government came to power, the salaries of school teachers and further education teachers have increased by an average of 60 per cent.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that there is a sense of unfairness among teachers of this class in further education colleges in Scotland? Will he tell the House what was the outcome of the meeting with his fellow Minister this morning?

Mr. McEIhone

I have yet to discuss with the Minister of State the outcome of this morning's discussions. If it is unsatisfactory, I shall discuss with him the possibility of this item being reintroduced at the next general round of pay talks.