Teachers ‘forced to share rooms’ because of a lack of pay rises

Photo:  Barry Batchelor/PA wire
Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA wire
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YOUNG teachers are struggling to get on the property ladder because of the Government’s decision to scrap rising pay scales, a leading union member has claimed.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) have passed a resolution calling for an end to a pay freeze for teachers and for the mandatory rising salary scale to be restored.

It also called for performance related pay to be scrapped. Delegates were meeting on the final day of the union’s annual conference in Harrogate.

Members were told young teachers were being forced to share rooms and struggle to get mortgages because of “low salaries” with little chance of pay rises,

The NUT’s executive member and former Bradford branch official Ian Murch said: “Teachers mostly have big mortgages on small houses and they have to pay them themselves. That’s if the teacher can get a mortgage.

“Young teachers used to be able to contact their bank or building society and say ‘I earn £22,000 at the moment but it will go up to £37,000 eventually as I move up the scales’ and the lender would take it into account. Not now. You can’t show them those pay scales, not just because you’re less certain that you’ll progress up them, but because officially, there aren’t any.

“The government, and it’s acquainted ally the School Teachers Review Body don’t want there to be any concept of regular progression through a pay system.

“They’re quite happy that a salary of £22,000 is one that a teacher, who has paid for four years for their own education to get into the profession, can be stuck on forever.

“No wonder an increasing number of young teachers give up demoralised. No wonder teacher training places are not being filled.”

He added: “Conference, we shouldn’t and we won’t tolerate this disrespect for the value of teachers and of teaching any longer.”

In the last five years, teachers in England and Wales have had a pay freeze for three years followed by a one percent rise for two years. The resolution, which was passed by delegates, instructs the union’s executive to seek a series of measures from any new government, including: “An end to the pay freeze and a plan to restore, over a fixed period of time, the real value of all teachers’ salaries”.

It also calls for a combination of a living wage and affordable housing that will allow teachers to live in London and the fringe areas of the capital.

The motion calls for the union’s proposals to be put to all parties in the run-up to the General Election and says the NUT should prepare for and ballot for a national campaign of industrial action, including strikes, seeking the involvement of other unions, if no progress is made in talks with the new government on agreeing and implementing the plans.

During the conference the NUT has also agreed to ballot on possible strike action if the next Government fails to rule out real terms cuts to school spending in its autumn statement.

In her closing speech to the conference, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “We are a strong and committed trade union.

“We will fight for pay and pensions and conditions that our members deserve, we will fight for the education from qualified teachers that our children deserve and we will fight for social justice everywhere.

“And along the way, we will also seek to have fun, build friendships and comradeship.”