Unions call for cost of living pay increase for all teachers
All teachers and school leaders should receive a “significant salary uplift” this year to ensure wages keep pace with inflation, a coalition of five education unions has said.
The Association of School and College Leaders, NAHT headteachers’ union, NEU teaching union, UCAC and Voice have submitted a joint statement to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to the education secretary on the annual teachers’ pay award.
The statement says that “as a matter of justice and fairness, all teachers and school leaders require an annual cost of living increase to ensure their salaries keep pace with rising prices, so that no teacher or school leader is worse off in real terms from year to year.”
The unions urge the STRB to “reconsider its position, encouraged by HM Treasury” that pay awards should be based on performance, and that uplifts to the national framework should not necessarily result in pay increases for every teacher. “We are clear that a cost of living increase should be applied to all salaries and allowances,” the unions say.
‘Significant salary uplift’
In November, the unions made the case for a 5 per cent pay increase from September 2018 for all teachers and school leaders.
The joint statement calls for a “significant salary uplift” this year, and rejects “the government’s assertion that differentiated awards can have a positive impact on teacher recruitment or retention”.
“Targeting scarce resources in this way has been unsuccessful in recent years and, crucially, undermined teacher morale and the value and status of the profession.”
Last year the government accepted a recommendation from the STRB for an overall 1 per cent pay increase for the profession, a raise of 1 per cent to the minimum and maximum of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework except the main scale, where the minimum and maximum increased by 2 per cent.
The unions demand that any pay increases are “fully funded by the government”. “Without additional funding to achieve this, schools may find themselves in a position where a choice must be made between teachers and school leaders’ remuneration and funding for the curriculum,” the statement says.
“Paying teachers and school leaders fairly cannot be at the expense of their pupils. We therefore call upon the STRB to endorse this principle as one of its specific recommendations.”
The unions also say that the STRB has in recent years allowed its recommendations to be “constrained by the government’s pay policy and the funding position of schools”. They call for the STRB “to set out what would be, in its view, the appropriate levels of pay for teachers and school leaders if unconstrained by such matters, in order to set a benchmark for the longer-term restoration of pay in the profession”.
As well as submitting the joint statement, each of the unions will be submitting detailed evidence separately to the STRB.