Friday, 1 March 2013

£7bn Unpaid Labour - but Gove and Wilshaw want more

Wilshaw insults teachers in September
Today is supposedly "Work Your Proper Hours Day" but for those bullying Michaels, Gove and Wilshaw, teachers' 'proper hours' should be every hour of the day, every day of the week!

As the TES points out  "Teachers work more overtime than any other public sector workers, equating to £7 billion of free labour for schools a year, according to an analysis of official statistics carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC)".

But things are set to get worse - unless we act. In September, Sir Michael Wilshaw insulted teachers by suggesting we were "out of the gate at 3 o'clock". Now he is issuing advice to Ofsted to make sure they are policing performance-pay regimes to try and bully teachers into working even more hours of unpaid overtime - for fear of losing their pay rise.

That's why it was right for Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, to say in this week's NUT press release that "If the Education Secretary does not stop his systematic undermining of our profession the NUT will take action to defend teachers in whichever way is necessary, including strike action.”

Teachers now need those words to be turned into action. Decisions from yesterday's Executive are still subject to an embargo but an email sent to NUT members today made clear that
"The NUT wrote to Michael Gove immediately seeking urgent talks - since none were happening - making clear our willingness to negotiate ... Michael Gove's reply, however, has offered no meeting with him or his Ministers and no new talks about pay or pensions ... As a result the NUT Executive today reaffirmed its commitment to taking further strike action, if necessary, to protect our pensions, pay structure, and working conditions. The NUT is engaged in discussions with the NASUWT about continuing our campaign through joint strike action".
Unless action is called, Gove will continue to refuse to talk about the threats to pay and pensions. Worse, he may feel emboldened to also start to legislate to further worsen working conditions, such as by abolishing limits on cover and directed hours. Further strike action clearly is very necessary - and a plan of action needs to be announced as a matter of urgency.

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