Edinburgh teachers strike: Passing motorists toot in support of workers outside Royal Mile primary school

‘Solid’ turnout in Edinburgh for latest stoppage
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Teachers were on the picket line again on Wednesday, March 1, as members of two of Scotland’s teaching unions took part in the second day of a 48-hour strike for a 10 per cent pay rise. At Edinburgh’s Royal Mile Primary School, passing motorists beeped and tooted their horns in support of the teachers on picket duty. One EIS member standing on the pavement with a placard said: “We don’t want to be here – we’d much rather be inside, teaching children – but we feel we have no alternative.”

The EIS, Scotland’s biggest teachers’ union, and the NAS/UWT staged a national stoppage on Tuesday and Wednesday after rejecting the latest offer of a 6 per cent rise from last April and 5.5 per cent this year.

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Edinburgh EIS secretary Alison Murphy said: “None of us want to be on strike, but the strikes were very solid – every single school, with one exception, was closed and that one was only partially open. We had picket lines in schools that have never done picket lines before. And having been on some of the picket lines, what was relly heartening was the level of public support – the number of cars tooting and the number of pedestrians walking past who were stopping.”

Teachers on the picket line at Royal Mile Primary School.Teachers on the picket line at Royal Mile Primary School.
Teachers on the picket line at Royal Mile Primary School.

She said surveys showed the teachers still had majority support among parents and she had even been stopped in the street by people wanting to voice their support for the teachers. "We don’t want to be out, we’re more than aware of the impact on the kids – because we’ll be the people trying to pick up and counteract that – but we’re striking because the long-term impact of us not being out and the profession continuing to be under-valued and continuing to have shortages is much worse.”

Some parents might feel there have been so many days of disruption due to strikes that it is becoming a normal part of school life. And the EIS has just confirmed another 20 days of rolling strike action between March 13 and April 21. But Ms Murphy said: "Awful as it is for us to escalate our action, both for children and for our members, the reason we are escalating is precisely because it cannot be normalised. We cannot have this continuing level of disruption. We will keep ratcheting up the pressure in order to try and avoid eactly that. The last thing we need is for it to become normal.”

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