Thursday 6 November 2014

November National Executive Report - Salaries

A number of key issues were discussed at Wednesday's Salaries Sub-Committee:

Supply Teachers
A report was included on the successful Lobby of Parliament held on 28 October (see earlier report on this blog). It was also reported that the TUC are organising a "Decent Jobs Week" from 15-21 December and that the Union should make sure that supply teacher issues are raised alongside those facing other agency and zero-hour contract workers.

It was reported that the Union is also working on plans to develop a self-organising network of supply teachers. This was one of the plans discussed in the organising meeting held at the end of the Lobby of Parliament. I also reported on the plan for the supply teachers network to hold a meeting on December 13th. I will continue to see how I can assist making sure these activities are publicised and developed.

Teachers' Pensions
The pension contribution rates from April 2015 will be based on a tiered structure that maintains the current 9.6% average payment - the imposed increase brought in over the previous three years. The Committee Paper noted that "if the 2006 cost-sharing agreement had held, teachers would have been paying an average 7.7%".

The NUT will also be represented at the "Working Longer Review" (yes, that's what's it's called!) set up by the DfE which will include exploring "the health and deployment implications of teachers working longer". I think teachers know too well what the real implications are - but let's see what this Review concludes ....

Sixth Form Pay Structures
The Committee discussed the responses from NUT members in sixth form colleges to a consultation on the Sixth Form Colleges Association's proposals on a new pay structure and pay progression framework. As also discussed elsewhere on this blog, while some positive part so the proposals were acknowledged, there was real concern over the plan to link pay progression at all points to criteria set by individual colleges.

In response, the Committee agreed to recommend to the Executive that the NUT could not accept the current proposals and would seek "to continue negotiation to achieve a proposed structure which does not contain the elements that are of concern to members" and support members in taking action where colleges sought to reduce pay progression through new progression criteria.(UPDATE: This was then agreed at the full Executive).

NUT submission to the School Teachers' Review Body
The Union's detailed response to the STRB says in its summary: “The NUT’s analysis in this submission reaffirms our view that teachers’ pay levels need to be increased significantly. We call on the STRB to assert its independence and make recommendations on pay that will start the process of restoring teachers’ pay to proper professional levels, in order to address growing problems of recruitment, retention and morale and secure the supply of teachers for the future.
If the STRB chooses again to comply with the constraints of its remit and confines itself to considering the distribution of a pay increase of 1 per cent or less - or, even worse, takes forward its apparent intention to allow even such an increase to be denied to many teachers - then it will be failing the profession and the country”

The Report details evidence from the STRB's own research pointing to the "real challenge ... in preserving the attractiveness of teaching as a preferred profession for good graduates" and the "risk of those in the teaching profession feeling under-valued and recruitment and retention suffering as a consequence". The NUT Submission also explains how "During the Coalition Government's period in office, teachers' pay will have fallen by more than 15% in real terms as measured against inflation". Of course, pension increases on top of this mean that the overall 'robbery' is even greater. 

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