Teaching unions in the United Kingdom have threatened to vote their members for strike action this fall unless the government provides an “inflation-plus” wage rise.
In a letter, the National Education Union’s leaders warn Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi that “if you fail to take sufficient action, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action in the autumn term. “And we’ll be encouraging them to vote yes,” says the campaign.
To coincide with Wednesday’s revelation that inflation has now reached 9.1%, NEU general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney sent a letter.
According to the letter, “Inflation has increased dramatically since your evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), indicating a 3 per cent wage hike for most of the teaching profession. “The latest figures show CPI inflation at 9.1 per cent and RPI at 11.7 per cent.” “We calculate that teacher pay has fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010, even before the effects of this latest bout of inflation.”
A “alarming decline” in teacher compensation relative to average income, according to the letter, is now trickling through to teacher recruitment and retention, the letter claims. In three years, one in four instructors will have resigned, and one in three will have done so by the end of five, the report states. Schools around the nation are experiencing serious difficulty in obtaining candidates for open positions. As a consequence, some schools are forced to make cuts to their curriculum. “So, we are asking that you take action to address this profound crisis in both teacher recruitment and retention.”
The letter urges on Mr. Zahawi to modify his testimony to the STRB, the independent body that advises the Government on teacher pay, to “indicate that above inflation pay rises should be awarded for experienced teachers; it is not good enough to propose higher rises only for beginner teachers (which are themselves likely to be lower than inflation).” It goes on: “A clear and unambiguous signal that educators are valued, with undifferentiated inflation-plus pay increases for all teachers, is urgently needed. And you must fund schools accordingly.” This is how it concludes: “We have to tell you that unless you take sufficient action, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action in the autumn term.” “And we will be strongly encouraging them to vote yes. We can no longer stand by while you run both education and educators into the ground.”