The leadership of the National Education Union (NEU) have rightly advised teachers in state schools to reject the Government pay offer. It is important that we urge teachers to reject this offer.The NEU states that the pay offer is not fully funded. This means that schools will have to pay teachers out of their school budgets. Many will know that schools have been struggling for years. Class sizes growing, subjects cut to save money, a lack of basic equipment and investment. “A survey of 630 headteachers by the Association of School and College Leaders reveals the “catastrophic” impact of the funding crisis on schools. Nearly all schools (98 per cent) said they would have to make savings either this year or next to meet rising costs. Inflation and soaring energy bills mean schools face a £2 billion shortfall by 2024, previous analysis suggests.”1
The Government has offered teachers in England a £1000 one off cash payment, but this is non-consolidated. This means that it is not added to their pay scale so will leave those teachers left behind other teachers in Wales and Scotland. “It would mean that, next year, a teacher in England with six years’ experience would be earning “1,985 less per annum than their counterpart in Wales and a staggering £8,037 per annum than Scottish colleagues.”2
The NEU negotiators have tried hard to press home issues that would make a real difference to teachers. They seek a genuine commitment to managing workload by reducing the number of cover periods teachers face and ensuring more planning and preparation time is made available. These were rejected by the Government.
Attempts to remove statutory performance pay from agreements was rejected.
Attempts to ensure pay portability – meaning your pay grade was automatically accepted by a school when you change workplace – was rejected. Teachers who have worked hard year in, year out can be moved down the pay scale and lose pay awards.
Attempts to have a joint study into the impact of Ofsted inspections on work load and wellbeing were turned down.
The NEU has indicated that it is willing to compromise where possible but a 4.3% offer at a time a high inflation, year on year pay cuts in real terms, and no movement on workload or teacher retention makes rejection the only sensible way to proceed. It is a rotten offer.
For more information about the NEU pay dispute and how you can support the campaign follow the link below:
By Nick Jones, teacher and Left Unity member.
1 Funding crisis: Most schools to cut staff and up class sizes (schoolsweek.co.uk)
2 Vote reject! – Vote reject! (foleon.com)
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