When you are a Government, and you want to rob somebody, you don’t need the skill of the person who stole George Bush’s watch. You just need to be hard-faced.
The Government, on the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body awarded teachers a 2 .5% pay increase from the coming September. At the time, the Government conceded that should inflation go above 3.25% by this April, then the STRB could conduct a further review, to see if this should be compensated for.
Inflation was actually 4.8% at this point. Last September we got a 2.5% rise as well.
You Lost 2.3%
So during the school year we have lost 2.3% of our pay in real terms, as well as having our pension contribution increased by 0.4%. Inflation is almost certain to be more than 2.5% in the coming year, so the downward spiral will continue.
The NUT wrote to the STRB and asked it to take the Government up on its original offer to consider compensating us for this.
The Government’s answer?
This attack on teachers’ living standards is part of an attack on public-sector pay as a whole, and needs a sector-wide response. The NUT took a big step towards this at the Easter Conference, with a unanimously backed motion committing the union to campaign with other public sector unions to oppose the Government’s unfair public sector pay limit, supported, if necessary, by joint industrial action.
Should We Act?
…. and if so, When?
As a result of these developments, Bradford NUT has conducted an indicative ballot amongst a random sample of 500 members to gain some idea of the level of support for a one-day national strike on pay.
145 members took part in the ballot by returning the paper to us.
Of these, 119 were in favour of strike action if the Government refused to let the STRB consider increasing the pay award, as they have now done. 26 were against.
127 were in favour of strike action (with 17 against) if the Government decides to hold our pay down to a 2% increase for each of the years from 2008-211, as they have asked the Review Body to consider. We will know whether we are to be condemned to a further three years of reduction in the real value of our pay in the autumn.
Fair Pay For Teachers
The economy as a whole is growing. Pay in the private sector is mostly matching or exceeding inflation.
Not for the first time, a Government is trying it on with teachers and other public sector workers.
We have to decide whether we will let them.
The Union is in the process of producing campaigning materials for what may well be a serious struggle, if we want to be treated fairly.