Friday 25 September 2015

You deserve a pay-rise - how to appeal and organise against performance-pay

Teachers are awaiting the outcome of their 'performance-reviews' which, thanks to Gove’s imposition of ‘performance-pay’, can now decide whether or not they progress up the pay-scale or, in the latest divisive twist, even if they will receive their annual pay award. Since the 1920s, teachers’ pay has been structured around annual increments. Teachers could rightly expect to progress up the pay scale as they gained experience. However now Governors are allowed to pick and choose who gets a pay rise - and who doesn’t

In the first year of the new performance-pay system, most teachers continued to receive pay progression. However, too many teachers still lost out. For example, figures suggest that as many as a third of main range teachers were refused progress in some of the biggest academy chains. Upper pay range rejections were even greater. This is just the start. We have to act firmly to make sure this becomes the exception, not the rule. 
Performance-related pay is divisive, demoralising and discriminatory. International research shows that it fails to improve pupil achievement. It certainly doesn’t help teachers! It is, of course, really about cutting the pay bill. 

After all the long hours of work teachers put in, they deserve their salary increases! Rejection of pay-progression won’t just set teachers back for one year. They will then be further down the pay-scale than they should be for years to come.
So, denial of pay-progression, even for just one year, could mean losing over £10,000 overall. 

The NUT was founded in 1870 to oppose ‘payment-by-results’ and we must do so again today.  Such robbery has to be fought.

I have produced advice for Lewisham NUT members on how to appeal and organise against attempts by schools to prevent teachers being awarded the pay rises that they deserve. Here's a little of what it says:

Don’t suffer in silence, tell your colleagues

Being rejected for progression can make teachers feel like failures, but it’s not staff who are failing, it’s the system we are working under. Unreasonable workload, growing pupil needs and a lack of time and resources all make it hard to meet the ever-growing demands put on teachers and their schools. So don’t be ashamed, be angry and organise to win the salary you deserve.

Performance-pay is designed to be divisive but trade unions have always said ‘unity is strength’. If you are rejected for pay progression, don’t just accept it. Talk to your union colleagues and make a plan of action - both for your individual appeal and for collective action against unfair policies that could threaten all teachers. 

Further detailed advice follows which can be downloaded as a leaflet or, for copying to use elsewhere, downloaded as a text file from

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