Government plans to scrap national pay for teachers

Submitted by AWL on 11 October, 2002 - 8:41

From School Teachers Opposed to Performance Pay (STOPP)

Education Secretary Estelle Morris has signalled the Government's intention to try and shatter the national pay structure for teachers.

Thanks to the weakness of the teacher union leaderships, New Labour have already managed to introduce the divisive 'threshold' and annual target-setting through 'performance management'. From the outset, STOPP (School Teachers Opposed to Performance Pay) warned that PRP would be used to ration teachers' pay and set teacher against teacher. Performance pay would also damage education as teachers concentrated only on what would help meet their performance targets.

However, recognising the depth of opposition to performance-related pay (PRP), the Government proceeded cautiously. They allowed most teachers to succeed in getting the performance-related 'threshold' increase that was introduced for experienced teachers. Now some schools are beginning to get tough about whether staff get further performance pay rises. But Morris's letters to the Schoolteachers' Review Body show this is nothing compared to what New Labour has planned for the future.

Morris wants:

  • All progression up the pay spine to be performance-related, for both new and experienced staff.
  • Standards for performance increases to be toughened up to "purchase a more effective contribution from each member of the workforce".
  • National pay scales to be replaced by local pay. But, says Morris, even "regional" pay is "insufficiently finely grained". She wants individual schools deciding what they pay staff !
  • Discretionary individual bonuses instead of across-the-board increases in London Allowances
  • No pay increase above the rate of inflation - plus the threat of a three-year pay deal.

Morris' excuse for a pay freeze is that her funding priority is to 'remodel' the teaching workforce - essentially by recruiting even worse-paid, under-qualified staff to do the work of teachers.

The whole package of pay and workforce 'reforms' is a threat to teachers on a different scale to anything that has come before from New Labour. But determined action can force them back.

Teacher shortages and the growing tide of public sector strikes will give teachers confidence to take action. Instead of caving in like they did when PRP was first introduced, the NUT and NASUWT leaderships have to launch a campaign to warn teachers of the seriousness of these attacks and to prepare for strike action to turn back the tide.

The NUT have just announced that in October they will be balloting members across London and surrounding areas for a further one-day strike planned for 14 November. The NASUWT are consulting members as to whether they should take joint action. This has to be the start of extended action in London and nationally to defeat PRP and win a £6,000 London Allowance and a 10% increase for all teachers.

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