From the archive - 15.07.1977

13th April 2012 at 01:00

'Don't give way on pay,' heads urge PM

Headteachers appealed to the prime minister this week not to give in to "ransom demands" for pay increases from miners, transport workers and other trade unions.

A letter to James Callaghan from the 19,000-strong National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said: "We are fearful of the first anarchy that we believe will follow free-for-all wage negotiations and urge most strongly the need for restraint."

Heads want the government to ensure that the weaker sectors of the wage-earning population do not suffer from the demands made by unions with industrial muscle. Rejection of a third year of pay restraint would be disastrous to the nation's economy, the letter said.

While agreeing that restraint was necessary, the heads want a positive move to be made towards restoring differentials. Middle managers had suffered more than most during the past two years, the letter said.

Bob Cook, NAHT general secretary, told Mr Callaghan that differentials had all but been destroyed. This was curbing incentive to obtain higher qualifications and discouraging people from accepting increased responsibilities.

He urged Mr Callaghan not to restrict consultations about pay policy to the Trades Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry. It was important that there should be a national consultative body representing their wider interest, he said.

Frank Mills, president of the NAHT, said: "Those people now calling so eagerly to unfettered collective bargaining are acting like pay pirates. We believe the government will win the support of the vast majority of employees if it stands firm against the practical broadside."

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