Gordon Brown will face a test of his plans to hold down public sector pay after the announcement of a three-year pay deal for teachers in England and Wales this week.
The deal would give teachers a pay deal of 2.45 percent this year, and 2.3 percent for the following two years. Inflation, as measured by the retail price index, is currently at 4.0 percent. The deal would effectively give teachers three years of pay cuts.
Responding to the deal, NUT teachers’ union general secretary Steve Sinnott said, “Teachers will be worse off.”
The NUT has promised a “robust” response to the offer.
The NUT voted at its conference last year to ballot its members for strike action to reject any below-inflation pay deal.
It was widely expected that teachers would be offered no more than 2 percent, in line with Gordon Brown’s pay freeze. The fact that the offer is above 2 percent shows that the threat of strike action has rattled Brown.
Brown wants to impose below-inflation pay deals on the entire public sector.
Other unions, such as the lecturers’ UCU union and the PCS civil service workers’ union, could take joint action alongside the NUT.
Unions in local government have put in a 6 percent pay claim for this year.
For more on teachers’ pay see » Teachers' round-up.
For more on Gordon Brown’s pay limit see » Why Gordon Brown wants to hold down wages