Today, in only just over 600 words, BBC Scotland’s report on the EIS recommending acceptance of the Scottish Government offer, space is found for this:
But it would be wrong to presume the result in advance.
The offer is still below inflation.
The question is whether the new pay offer is the best which can realistically be achieved.
The outcome of the EIS consultation should be known next Friday.
But few in the union will be celebrating. Instead some senior figures are saddened that it took industrial action on this scale to achieve this pay offer.
Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Michael Marra said the progress was welcome but long overdue.
He added: “The SNP have wasted months playing petty games while schools were engulfed by strike chaos and teachers were forced to fight for a fair deal.”
Earlier Stephen Kerr, of the Scottish Conservatives, criticised the role of the education secretary in the dispute.
“After months of inaction from Shirley-Anne Somerville, which has done untold damage to our kids’ education, we can only hope this dispute is finally nearing an end.”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-64841722
Teachers have been on strike in England & Wales too. The BBC coverage there reveals the same lack of such politicisation we have seen for years over issues in public services provision.
I searched for ‘BBC England teacher strikes’. These were the top 4.
Today, in: Teachers’ strike dates: When and where are schools affected? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-63283289, in more than 1 000 words, there is no reference to or comment by the Labour opposition.
Just yesterday, in: Teachers in southern England walk out in second day of strike action https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-64821897, in 650 words, there is no reference to or comment by the Labour opposition.
Two days ago, in: Teachers in southern England walk out in second day of strike action https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-64821897, still no Labour comment.
and on 15 February 2023, in: Teachers in England will not back down over pay, says union: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-64651654, the same absence of politicisation of a public sector issue.
I searched for ‘BBC Wales teacher strikes’.
Looking at the first 4, there were no references to or comments by the, in Wales, very hostile and outspoken Conservative Party opposition.
In the 5th, the directly comparable, with the BBC Scotland piece on a deal: Wales strikes: Teachers made improved pay offer https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-64568330, there is once more, no grudging ‘analysis’ and no opposition presence.
Nothing could be clearer.
For evidence that this bias operates in other areas, try: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/?s=BBC+Wales
3 thoughts on “Only BBC Scotland politicises a teacher strike settlement on behalf of the opposition”
I am sure that if strikes by teachers in England continues, the Tories will be urging them to settle “as the teachers in Scotland have wisely done”.
Michael Marra – “schools were engulfed by strike chaos.”
Stephen Kerr – “which has done untold damage to our kids’ education”
What a pair of numpties – indulging themselves in ridiculous hyperbole. To date, most schools have experienced just five days of strikes – not on consecutive days but spread over time. Extended periods of school closure during the pandemic lockdowns didn’t do “untold damage”, so what makes them think that a few odd days would?
Perhaps both need reminding that, in council areas under the control of both their parties, their eagerness to slash school funding and deny hungry children decent meals is far more likely to do “untold damage to our kids’ education”?
There has been more than enough well-documented evidence gathered in TuS over a long period of time now and on various aspects of public services/policies to leave no room for doubt. BBC Scotland chooses frequently to politicise issues in ways unfavourable to the Scottish Government to an extent NOT found elsewhere in the BBC’s new output. The contrast with Wales is especially noteworthy given the comparability of status of the devolved governments in Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Of course, the other aspect of BBC Scotland’s approach to reporting is that it exposes the inanity (the ’emptiness of meaning or sense’) and the hypocrisy of opposition politicians in Scotland who belong to Unionist, Westminster-centric parties.
The BBC News website piece on the teachers’ pay offer in Scotland referred to in the main blog post offers up two additional examples.
We learn: ‘Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Michael Marra said the progress was welcome but LONG OVERDUE. (my emphasis)
‘He added: “The SNP have WASTED MONTHS PLAYING PETTY GAMES WHILE schools were engulfed by strike chaos and teachers were forced to fight for a fair deal.”
Mr Marra clearly has no concept of ‘negotiation’; nor of the constraints on the budget of devolved governments; nor of the potential spillover effects of an inflation matching/beating pay award in one part of the public sector to other parts; nor of a desire for equitable treatment of all deserving public sector workers. within overall budgetary constraints.
But Mr Marra’s Labour colleagues, those entrusted with the responsibility of governing Wales, clearly do! Or would Mr Marra claim Mr Drakeford and his ministerial team who are still trying to resolve their dispute with teachers been ‘playing petty games’ too?
On the teacher’s dispute in Wales from the Wales Online website dated 16 January 2023:
‘Unions have been CAMPAIGNING FOR MONTHS for a pay increase close to inflation, which is currently over 10%. Teachers in Wales REJECTED THE WELSH GOVERNMENT’S OFFER OF A 5% INCREASE IN NOVEMBER, calling it AN “INSULT” and threatening to strike unless a higher offer was put on the table.’
‘David Evans, Wales Secretary of the NEU Cymru, said: “WE HAVE CONTINUALLY RAISED OUR CONCERNS WITH THE EDUCATION MINISTER about teacher and support staff pay, and Welsh Government funding of schools, but SO FAR THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN STEPS TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE.
“THE WELSH GOVERNMENT MUST KNOW THERE IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE ACTION ON TEACHER PAY. They must realise that school support staff need a pay rise. If they do not, then the consequences are clear for parents and children. Anyone who values education should support us in this dispute because that is what we are standing up for.
Perhaps it’s deep cultural thing but foolishly I still hope against hope that the Labour Party in Scotland can be a social democratic party of good standing. But when I read this kind of stuff put into the media by leading Labour MSPs in Holyrood I have an overwhelming sense of further and just a kind of basic disappointment. Can they really be unaware of their hypocrisy?
The same BBC News article amplifies the view of another opposition MSP, albeit one that will never disappoint, will always live up to the reputation of his party and more so whenever he opines.
The BBC opts to share this: ‘Earlier Stephen Kerr, of the Scottish Conservatives, criticised the role of the education secretary in the dispute.
“After months of inaction from Shirley-Anne Somerville, which has done untold damage to our kids’ education, we can only hope this dispute is finally nearing an end.”
From the Independent on 11 December 2022: ‘Ministers accused of ‘dangerous’ stance after THEY REFUSE TO NEGOTIATE PAY WITH NURSES TO PREVENT STRIKES – Nursing leaders have offered to suspend Thursday’s industrial action in return for talks’
From the Telegraph on 3 MARCH, 2023 on England’s ambulance staff’s pay dispute: ‘GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison said this marks a “huge shift” in the Government’s position in the negotiations. She said: “GMB ambulance workers announced a tightening of the derogations for cover on strike days.
“Less than 24 hours later we received a letter from the Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay, inviting us and other unions to pay talks.
“THIS IS A HUGE SHIFT FROM THE GOVERNMENT, WHO FOR MONTHS HAVE REFUSED TO CONSIDER NEGOTIATIONS ON PAY. NOW THEY ARE SAYING THEY ARE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND TALK.’