Union demands end of teacher pay cap as inflation outstrips earnings

14th June 2017 at 17:40
Recommendations from teacher pay body expected 'within a month or two'

A teaching union has added its voice to post-election calls for the public sector pay cap to be lifted, after figures showed wages falling behind inflation.

The government has limited public sector pay rises at 1 per cent a year until 2019-20 – representing a real-terms pay cut following increases in inflation.

The consumer prices index has been above 1 per cent since September 2016, and according to figures released this week rose to 2.7 per cent in May 2017.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Services are being starved of funds and staff shortages mean nurses, paramedics, teaching assistants and council employees are having to work even harder, but for less money.

"Public sector workers have not had a proper pay rise since 2011. It is no wonder they feel so undervalued. The public sector pay cap must go."

'Nearly half their wages go before they see it'

His views were echoed by Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

She told Tes: “Of course the public sector pay cap is going to have to be lifted.

“The difficulties we are having to recruit and retain teachers is compounded by the fact they are paid so poorly, particularly at entry level.

“Once newly-qualified teachers have paid the student loan repayments, tax and national insurance, nearly half their wages are taken from their pocket before they see it”

Teacher pay came up as an issue during the general election, with Jeremy Corbyn saying Labour would lift the cap.

Speaking to the BBC after he lost his Croydon Central seat on Thursday, former Conservative MP Gavin Barwell said: “There's a conversation I particularly remember with a teacher who had voted for me in 2010 and 2015. They said, 'you know I understand the need for a pay freeze for a few years to deal with the deficit, but you're now asking for that to go on potentially for 10 or 11 years, and that's too much.'"

In January, six education unions came together to call on the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) to recommend a “significant pay increase” for teachers to address a “crisis” in recruitment and retention.

A STRB spokesman today told Tes it has not yet completed this year’s report and recommendations, but that it expected them to be published “within the next month or two”.

The Department for Education has said it is for schools to determine teachers’ pay.

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