Fair Pay For Teachers. Are You Willing To Act?

The Government has now announced its plans for a multi-year pay settlement for teachers in which teachers in this area would get increases of 2.45% in September 2008, and 2.3% in both 2009 and 2010. We are currently in the middle of a settlement for 2006 to 2008, where increases have been limited to 2.5% per year.

We have to ask ourselves whether we can accept these plans, when

  1. As teachers, our pay increases have already been held down to, or below, inflation for several years..
  2. We received a 2.5% rise from April 2004; 2.5% from April 2005; 0.75% from September 2005; 2.5% from September 2006 and 2.5% from September 2007.
  3. On top of this, anyone who is still in receipt of management allowances has not had a rise in the allowance since April 2003, and the allowances will cease to exist at the end of this year.
  4. Also, since January 2007, we have all been paying an extra 0.4% towards our pensions, cutting our rise for 2007 down to effectively 2.1%.
  5. Annual inflation is currently running at 4.0%, using measures that include housing and fuel costs. Earnings in the private sector are rising by more than 4% per annum.
  6. Teachers begin their career earning 10% less than other graduates. After 5 years in the job, the gap has widened to more than 20%. This is in an era when more jobs are acquiring graduate status, so the pay of teachers is compared with a broader group, many of whom have traditionally earned less, but are now earning more than us.
  7. House price inflation and the burden of student debt are making it ever more difficult for young teachers to buy their first home.

The declining value of your pay .

Using HM Treasury inflation forecasts—the diverging lines speak for themselves.








As part of the last pay settlement for teachers in December 2005, the Government accepted the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) that if the average headline rate of inflation for the twelve months from April 2006 to March 2007 were to exceed 3.25 per cent, then the Review Body could be asked by any of the teachers’ organisations to seek a remit to review teachers’ pay. Inflation was actually 4.8% for the relevant period. We sought the review. The Government refused to allow it to take place.

It is clear that the Government intends year on year to reduce the value of our pay in real terms, and to hold it down below earnings in the private sector. It will not change its mind unless we pressure it to do so.

We will of course continue to make formal representations to the Government and to engage in lobbying. On the day the settlement was announced, we had adverts in the press condemning the way you are treated and putting the case for fair pay for teachers.

We will do our best to work with other teachers’ organizations in this campaign. The NASUWT is polling its own members on their attitude to the settlement.

It is the Government’s intention to hold all pay rises in the public sector for the next 3 years to below the expected increase in the Retail Price Index. We are in discussions with all TUC affiliated public sector unions to co-ordinate our approach.

We have written to a sample of 500 of our members in Bradford asking them if they would be willing to take strike action in order to resist this cut in our living standards, so that we have an indication of feeling. Let us know what you think we should be doing.

Come to the General Meeting on Tuesday 22nd January advertised in this Newsletter.

It will clearly strengthen our ability to secure fair pay for teachers, particularly those young ones who cannot afford a home, if we can act when necessary.


The Government is fond of quoting the Consumer Price Index as a measure of inflation. This leaves out rises in the cost of fuel. The diagram above shows how misleading this can be. The CPI also ignores increases in housing costs, including Council Tax.

Watch out for information on more campaigning steps we can take together.