CPGB-ML members joined thousands of teachers who took to the streets of Glasgow on Saturday 27 October, demanding decent pay and working conditions.
The teachers, who marched from Kelvingrove Park to George Square, are seeking a 10 percent rise to go some way to restoring the value of salaries that have been steadily degraded by a decade of public-sector pay caps, forcing real-terms pay cuts calculated by the National Education Union as amounting to 24 percent.
The deterioration in pay and conditions obtaining in Scottish schools (as likewise across the border) has driven teacher morale into a downward spiral. As recruitment and retention figures both decline, the workload on the teachers who remain in post weighs ever heavier, making the profession progressively less attractive and the teaching less effective.
This year in Scotland there are 670 vacancies in primary and secondary schools that remain unfilled. Among the areas worst affected are Glasgow, the Highlands and Aberdeen.
With genuine education increasingly giving way to ‘teaching to the test’, and schools in working-class areas reduced to preparing pupils for a precarious life on the dole or on zero-hour contracts, schooling for the masses is suffering a systematic and deliberate policy of neglect.
The teachers’ struggle for decent pay and a realistic workload cannot be divorced from the defence of the right to a proper education for the next generation of workers.