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88% of Western Isles teachers back strike action over remote learning plan

A total of 88% of teaching staff in the Western Isles are willing to go on strike over plans to move some children's classes online.
A total of 88% of teaching staff in the Western Isles are willing to go on strike over plans to move some children's classes online.

The majority of teachers in the Western Isles have backed proposals to go on strike if the council doesn’t reconsider its plan for more remote learning.

EIS teaching union members held a ballot on Wednesday to decide what the next step will be in the battle against a policy that will move some classes online.

The result was 88% of teachers would support strike action – unless the policy is scrapped.

As part of the Western Isles Council’s proposals, certain specialist subjects will be offered remotely to pupils across the authority’s four secondary schools.

Remote learners on campus would be supervised by an adult – but not necessarily a teacher.

The EIS warned remote learning would minimise the role of teachers and create child safety concerns.

Strike action ‘likely’

EIS local association secretary Karen Graham said that while member were “always open” to negotiation, they are willing to take this further.

She said: “We have informed the authority of the result of the consultative ballot and hope it will use this result to ensure they re-affirm its commitment to collective bargaining and that it informs their decision-making in terms of taking the voice of teachers seriously.

“We are always open to resolving this dispute through negotiation and consultation, however if the authority wishes to continue on its path of imposition rather than agreeing a way forward with teaching staff, it is likely that a statutory ballot for strike action will be the next step.

“We are now looking at a window of opportunity, let’s hope the authority utilises it.”

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