This leaflet from Leeds NUT outlines the reasons why teachers are fighting for better pay.
Activists in every union, especially public sector unions, need to put the teachers’ case to other groups of workers. This is an important pay battle that we should all help the teachers to win.
A special meeting of the NUT National Executive on 24 January decided to call on its members to support industrial action to challenge the teachers pay award for 2008-11.
The ballot will open on 28 February and the planned strike day is Thursday 24 April.
Here are ten key reasons for teachers to support this call for action:
1. The pay award means a 2.45% increase from September 2008 at a time when inflation is 4%. Hence it means a pay cut in real terms for members.
2. This will make 2008 the fifth successive year in which teachers have had a pay increase which is below inflation.
3. The latest award proposes that we get two further years of pay cuts with 2.3% in 2009 and again in 2010.
4. Pay increases in the private sector are averaging over 4%
5. Teachers’ starting pay is 10% behind that of other graduate jobs and within the first five years the gap widens to 30%
6. 30,000 teachers have lost management allowances as part of the move to TLRs and it is estimated that this will rise to 50,000 by December 2008 when safeguarding runs out. Many thousands more have suffered pay reductions by moving to a TLR of less value than their allowance.
7. The government claim that the real measure of inflation is the consumer price index (CPI) which is 2.1% When it comes to the repayment of student loans, however, they increased the rate to 4.8% because that was the figure for the retail price index at the time. So they choose the lower measure when paying us but the higher figure when we have to pay them.
8. Young teachers repaying student loans and trying to get on the housing market are particularly severely hit by measures of inflation which the pay award ignores (interest rates, mortgages, student loan repayments).
9. Lower pay means a poorer pension. All teachers, but especially those within 15 years of retiring, will find that the pension they have to live on after work will be hugely reduced by lower pay now.
10. The alternative to collective action is increased debt, mortgage defaults, teacher shortage and three more years of pay cuts
• What can teachers do?
• Vote yes for action on pay.
• Ensure that the case is spread in the staffroom.
• Hold a union meeting in school
• Talk to other school unions about the support they can give.