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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 November 2021

School staff need a pay rise

  (Click to enlarge)

Mike Whale, Hull Socialist Party

With inflation predicted to rise to 4.3 per cent or higher, and after a decade of Tory austerity, teachers need a significant pay rise now. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, we are 8% worse off than we were in 2011. Or, to put it another way, we are now working a month for free.

Sunak's pay freeze for this year was a further slap in the face to all school staff who kept education going through the height of the Covid pandemic. The small pay increase that might be forthcoming next year is likely to be a cut in real terms given inflation.

No wonder teachers are starting to leave the profession. If we are not careful, the 'market forces' of higher wages in some other sectors of the economy will lead to serious teacher shortages and a bigger threat to young people's education than Covid itself.

Teachers' pay is based on recommendations from the supposedly 'independent' School Teachers Review Board (STRB). But the STRB is not independent, it's a government puppet.

We have to fight for the right to negotiate a pay rise like other workers, and our pay should form part of a national contract which limits the ridiculously high number of hours teachers have to work.

Appeals to Tory MPs' better nature through petitions and postcards from individual teachers, which is what the union leadership is currently urging, are not enough. Instead, the NEU should prepare teachers for a strike ballot for a fully funded pay rise.

The Tories recent announcement that any pay rise must come from existing budgets is unacceptable. Schools will face the dilemma that if they make a much-needed pay award to their employees, they will have to make cuts somewhere else.

The union executive should be put on a war footing, organising meetings in every school and college to mobilise members. Let's not forget the collective strength of the NEU forced the Tories to back down over the unsafe opening of schools back in January. A similar campaign on pay could be an unstoppable force in winning a decent pay rise for all education workers.

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In The Socialist 10 November 2021:


COP26

Capitalism's COP26 failure: socialist planning vital

Thousands march in Glasgow and elsewhere to save the planet


Housing

Socialist planning to meet housing need

75 years after the first new town


News

Fight together for a pay rise

Council workers ballot on pay offer that's really a cut

School staff need a pay rise

Harsh Tory regime for benefit claimants and workers

Tories under pressure in bid to remove pension triple lock


What we think

Sleaze and pay a toxic mix for Tories


Socialism 2021

Why I'm coming to Socialism 2021


Workplace news

CWU conference debates political strategy

RMT AGM: Delegates focus on the looming battles

University workers vote for action in two disputes

Sheffield bin workers strike: "End rubbish pay!"

Support for all-out scaffs strike spreads

Weetabix workers escalate action in crunch dispute


International news

Portugal's government falls: Left must adopt a new course


Review

John Barnes on class and capitalism. What's missing?


 

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Related links:

School:

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

triangleEducation unions lead campaign against Leicester academisation

triangleWales: The Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement - jam tomorrow, maybe

triangleOaks Park school strike spurred on by head's lies

Pay:

triangleLow pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

triangleWeetabix workers defeat 'fire and rehire' and ballot on improved pay offer

triangleEast Mids rail conductors force concessions, train managers' dispute continues

triangleSouth Yorkshire bus strikes spreading and getting stronger

Teachers:

triangleUnion action needed for Covid safety

triangleOrganise to win the NEU's 8% pay demand

trianglePublic sector pay thaw - union fight is on for a real rise and funding

Education:

triangleUni staff and students must unite to end marketisation and for free education

triangleHigher education disputes

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