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Give Us 10% Payrise

14 April 2009 1,702 views No Comment

conf1 By Laura Clark daily Mail
Teachers were accused of ‘ living on another planet’ after demanding an inflation-shattering 10 per cent pay increase yesterday.
The National Union of Teachers insisted the recession must not be used as an excuse to restrain pay rises as they dismissed the Government’s 2.3 per cent offer.
Members said an immediate 10 per cent rise or £3,000 payment – whichever was greater – was needed to prevent staff leaving the profession.
Ian Murch: ‘No morality lessons from ministers’
In a swipe at Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, they said they would ‘take no lessons in morality’ from ministers who claimed stone sinks on expenses and paid their spouses more than teachers.
But the pay demand was greeted with disbelief at a time when unemployment is soaring and the economic downturn is forcing private companies to freeze or even cut salaries.
Activists at the NUT’s annual conference in Cardiff have already called for a four-day week in the classroom, a day set aside for marking and preparation, a 35-hour cap on overall weekly hours and a boycott of SATs tests.
Ministers said teachers had received a 19 per cent increase in their pay since 1998. They received 2.45 per cent last year and are due to get 2.3 per cent both this year and next.
But conference delegates condemned as ‘propaganda’ Government adverts giving £35,000 as a typical teacher’s salary.
They claimed teachers were increasingly willing to strike to achieve higher pay after staging a one-day walkout last April – the first all-out teachers’ strike in 20 years. They voted to ballot members for strike action if ministers attempt to reduce the 2.3 per cent settlement for September.
NUT delegates backed a motion to seek an increase of £3,000 or ten per cent, whichever is greater, for all salaries
Addressing delegates, Ian Murch, a teacher from Bradford, said: ‘We need to send out a clear message to the Government that we will not tolerate the recession being used as an excuse to cut our pay.’ He claimed teachers suffered a cut in the ‘real value’ of their pay of more than 6 per cent between 2004 and 2008 ‘while the sun was shining on the Fred Goodwins of this world’.
In a jibe at Miss Smith, formerly a schools minister who is embroiled in controversy over expenses claims, he added: ‘The last time I went on a deputation to see a Government minister about pay, she gave us a brief lecture about how well off we were, told us that performance-related pay was the way forward, and showed us the door. She now has a more high-profile job.
‘We take no lessons in morality from ministers who fit out their homes with stone sinks from Habitat on their expenses, who pay their husbands more than a teacher earns to be their personal assistants, and who don’t appear to engage in even a hint of performance management of what they get up to.’
Delegates also passed a resolution condemning the potential negative impact on teachers’ workloads as a result of the extension of free nursery entitlement
Joe Flynn, of Croydon, said that ‘anyone who thinks 10 per cent is a bit much to ask for’ should note the example of rail unions which recently won a 29 per cent rise just by threatening to go on strike.
The pay demand could fuel tensions with businesses amid claims of an emerging pay apartheid between public and private sector workers.
Earnings in the private sector fell by 1.1 per cent in January as companies cut salaries, working hours and bonuses in an attempt to get through the recession.
Margaret Morrissey, of the lobby group Parents Outloud and a former Ofsted lay inspector, said: ‘This is a worthy aim, and I have supported teachers’ pay claims in the past, but it is not a worthy time to do it. Are they on another planet? ‘They are likely to lack support from many parents at this time, some of whom have lost their jobs or are taking pay cuts to keep their jobs. ‘They are going to find it very difficult to rationalise taking more money out of the public purse, and the fact that others are doing it, including politicians, does not actually make it better.’
Schools Minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry said: ‘Teachers’ pay and conditions have never been better. We have increased their pay by 19 per cent in real terms since 1998 which means the average teacher is on nearly £33,000.

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