THE next president of the EIS has criticised Yes supporters who claimed recent threats to strike over wages were “part of a unionist plot.”

Bill Ramsay, a former member of the SNP’s National Executive Committee, who takes over as chief in June, hit out at claims that the country’s largest teaching union was in the pocket of Scottish Labour.

READ MORE: Bill Ramsay: My message to Yes activists about EIS strikes

In what was largely seen as a victory for the EIS over the Scottish Government, teachers were awarded a pay rise worth 10% last month.

The offer was accepted by most teachers, and came after a bruising campaign saw threats of strikes, and tens of thousands of teachers taking to the streets of Glasgow in a national demonstration.

Negotiations between the union and ministers and local government were strained at times.

At one point the EIS was reportedly considering “targeted strike action” against individual SNP ministers.

General secretary Larry Flanagan told colleagues that the union were considering political strikes, with industrial action happening at schools in seats held by Nicola Sturgeon, Education Secretary John Swinney and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.

It was in January when the EIS called for members to reject a 9% pay offer, that really infuriated SNP supporters.

Robin Sturgeon, father of the First Minister, and a leading SNP activist, accused the EIS of being “dishonest”.

In a tweet to Joe Cullinane, the Labour leader of North Ayrshire council, Sturgeon wrote: “You know as well as I do that the EIS are being dishonest with their members and playing a political game.

“A teacher strike with an SNP government would suit their agenda fine.”

Prominent independence supporting businessman and columnist Dick Winchester tweeted: “I think the EIS needs to take a long hard look at itself but I’m guessing this decision has been agreed with the Labour Party so they can use it to bash the SNP with.”

Those comments were echoed by many more on social media.

Speaking to the National, Ramsay, a 64-year-old modern studies teacher, said, he understood the “SNP bad trope,” where independence supporters believe a policy or proposals is criticised in the press or by other politicians purely because it has been put forward by the SNP rather than judged on its merits, but this was not the case during negotiations.

Ramsay said: “Where unions have resorted or threaten to resort to strike action in the recent period some in the independence movement have jumped to the conclusion that the threats or indeed the strikes themselves are part of a Unionist plot.”

He added: “To be sure tribalism is a feature of all parties and the SNP, and less politically experienced elements of the wider independence movement are not immune from it.

But, he added that the EIS was “reflective of Scottish Society at large in terms of its members political affiliations”.

Ramsay said the impact of the 2014 referendum on the Scottish trade union movement is “not well understood by many in the independence movement”.

He argued that the vote itself weakened the relationship between the unions and Labour, with the party pushing away supporters who backed a yes.

This, Ramsay claimed, was why “Corbynmania” had not taken hold north of the border.

“During the first indyref around half of the then EIS National Executive voted for independence and many of its leading activists today are independence supporters and do not hide it,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the STUC conference in Dundee yesterday, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for a devolution of employment law in order to set a pre-Brexit floor to stop that workers being caught up in a “race to the bottom”.