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Teachers demanding 10pc pay rise

14 April 2009 1,757 views No Comment

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor telegraph
nut-strikeThe National Union of Teachers wants an increase more than four times higher than the Government’s public sector pay settlement, prompting accusations that they are out of touch with the realities of the economy.
Private sector workers are seeing their salaries fall at the fastest rate on record and the value of their pensions crumble. Consequently, Gordon Brown has pledged to limit the growth of pay for public sector workers – whose pensions are guaranteed by the state, to 2 per cent.
Public sector workers could see pay deals renegotiated, under Tory plansThe Government has previously refused to budge on pay and last year the stand-off led to the first national teachers’ strike in two decades. Around 200,000 members of the NUT walked out in a co-ordinated campaign.
Becky Williams, a teacher from Nottinghamshire, told the NUT’s annual conference in Cardiff yesterday that she was quitting British schools because of pay. She gets an annual wage of £26,000 after four years in the job. “My stresses are enough without the addition of jumping through yet more hoops,” she said. “I am tired of the scrutiny, I am tired of the initiatives that eat into my precious time, I am tired of working over 60 hours a week, I am fed up with being overdrawn, I am depressed at the thought of my £25,000 student loan. I have handed in my notice. I am going to teach abroad.”
Last year, teachers in England and Wales received a 2.45 per cent pay rise, with further increases of 2.3 per cent in 2009 and 2010. Last week, it emerged some head teachers were being given huge performance-related bonuses which Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, refused to criticise. In one case, a head from a North West London comprehensive was handed £65,000 in addition to a salary of almost £100,000.
Yesterday, the NUT called for a fresh campaign to secure an increase for all teachers of 10 per cent or £3,000, whichever is highest, although there was no repeat of the strike threat from 2008.
It only called for industrial action if ministers attempted to reduce the existing pay settlement further.
Parents’ groups said the NUT was “on another planet”.
Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, said: “I have supported teachers’ pay claims in the past, but it is not a worthy time to do it. At this moment in time, teachers need to be careful.
“This might seem crass and I’m surprised they are doing this considering the economic climate and the sensitivity of those who have got to pay those increased wages for them, some of whom are struggling with cuts in pay or losing their jobs, or worrying how they will keep their house.”
Sarah McCarthy-Fry, the Schools Minister, 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.
“We have the most teachers since the early eighties and the biggest school workforce ever. We know that the majority of teachers are happy.”

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