Dumfries and Galloway teaching union opposes parking tax

The union representing teachers in Dumfries and Galloway has urged the council not to introduce a parking tax
The union representing teachers in Dumfries and Galloway has urged the council not to introduce a parking tax

The EIS teaching union has urged Dumfries and Galloway Council not to introduce work place parking charges.

Union representatives pointed out that teachers’ earnings have declined by a quarter, and recruitment and selection has become major problems across south west Scotland.

Teachers in rural area often have no alternative to driving due to patchy and expensive public transport.

EIS Equality representative Sarajane Moffat said: “Real-terms earnings of teachers in Dumfries and Galloway have declined substantially due to austerity, so introducing a parking charge could further increase the financial pressures on teachers.

“Schools in Dumfries and Galloway are already struggling to fill teaching posts, so anything that might make working in schools less attractive could exacerbate the current challenges in teacher recruitment and retention.”

EIS Secretary for Dumfries and Galloway Andrew O’Halloran added: “Public and active transport in Dumfries and Galloway is patchy and expensive. Many teachers live and work in different locations and driving is often their only option. Parking charges would put already overworked staff under great strain.”

The union added that teachers arrive at school early and often leave late, frequently have to carry heavy books for preparation and correction, plus public transport is often not a realistic option for travel to many schools.

In addition, work place parking charges would mean that teaching staff would have to pay to go to work at a time of wage stagnation, making Dumfries and Galloway a less attractive place to live and work.

Earlier this week council leader Elaine Murray issued an open letter to residents and business in the region ruling out the introducion of a workplace parking levy as well as a tourist tax, despite the local authority facing a £16 million funding gap in the 2019-20 budget.