Socialist Worker

Teachers launch fight for higher pay at London rally

by Sarah Tomlinson
Issue No. 2622

A protest over pay outside the Department for Education in  London in July

A protest over pay outside the Department for Education in London in July (Pic: NEU London Young Teachers Network)

Over 70 people came to a pay rally for NEU union members in London on Thursday of last week.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney and NEU national executive committee member Jess Edwards spoke about the pay award.

The school teachers’ independent pay review body recommended a 3.5 percent pay rise across the board for all teachers.

When asked why, it said this was to deal with a recruitment and retention crisis.

Yet the government has rejected this advice. It confirmed last Friday that only teachers who are on the main pay scale will get the 3.5 percent rise.

This is around 40 percent of teachers. The rest who are on the upper pay spine will get 2 percent, while school leadership will get 1.5 percent. And only part of this will be met by additional government funding.

Already stretched schools will have to find the first 1 percent from existing budgets. This will likely mean further cuts.

Members at the meeting reported that teachers in their schools are prepared to strike to defend their colleagues and to pressure the government for decent funding for schools.

There is also an issue in outer London, where pay on the upper threshold is now lower than the top of the main pay scale in inner London.

Teacher recruitment is most difficult in outer London so this really does need addressing.

We will be moving towards a ballot and we need to get 50 percent of all teachers to vote.

We need to end the spiralling fall in wages, recruitment and retention crisis and cuts to jobs, subjects and pastoral care in schools.

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