Thursday 14 October 2010

We're not accepting pay cuts to 'protect' school budgets

Discussions at the three-day NUT Divisional Secretaries Briefing confirmed the growing threat to national pay agreements – specifically the attempt by some local Authorities to, not only freeze points on the pay scale, but also to block any progression up the pay scale.

As reported in Classroom Teacher, the Tory Bury Council has already announced that it intends to impose this attack on its centrally-employed teachers and advisers. Other Divisions – including the NUT in Labour-run Greenwich – have reported the same threats being raised.

Unfortunately, it appears that advisory staff on Soulbury conditions may have fewer legal challenges to this attack than teachers employed under the Schoolteachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). Nevertheless, the NUT are considering a Judicial Review on the one hand. On the other, affected staff in Bury will soon be sent an indicative ballot paper to judge support for industrial action.

However, as we feared, this could just be the start. The NAHT has written a letter to Michael Gove opposing cuts to schools. However, one of its main requests is that Gove should change the STPCD to enable 'freedom to save and protect schools'. In other words, teachers will be blackmailed into accepting cuts to pay in order to save jobs. Teacher unions must unite in opposing this kind of false choice – especially at a time when teachers are already threatened with cuts to child benefit, pension increases and a pay freeze.

Together, we must take action to oppose cuts to pay and jobs – and demand that the Government invests in public services and stops attacking those of us who work to provide those services. The parasitic finance speculators who caused this crisis, and who do nothing to provide genuine services for our communities, should pay for their crisis, not us.

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