Legal action is to stop divisive order

7th April 2000 at 01:00
I NEVER cease to be amazed by the depths to which ministers will sink in order to railroad through unpopular proposals, such as performance-related pay.

Estelle Morris claims in her Platform article (TES, March 31) that "the NUT plans to use legal action to stop teachers getting a pound;2,000 pay rise". This is untrue.

At issue, as she knows, is a last-minute attempt by Government to add to teachers' conditions of service. The additional duty on all teachers will require them to act as informers on colleagues who have applied to cross the threshold. The new order requires teachers to assist headteachers in threshold assessments and to provide views and information on colleagues. Put simply, all teachers would be required to determine the pay and promotion of other teachers.

I cannot think of a duty more damaging, divisive and poisonous to a school's climate. It is this that the unon's action seeks to stop.

The legal action is necessary because of the deviousness and manipulation of the Government. It is seeking to add this duty without using the proper procedures of the Review Body. It claims this additional duty is not of significance and is attempting to avoid a debate in Parliament by use of procedural device. The legal action will not stop teachers receiving an additional pound;2,000.

The NUT is providing professional support and help to members who wish to cross the threshold, not because we believe in performance-related pay but be-cause we have always provided the best possible guidance to each member.

The union believes that all teachers deserve a pound;2,000 uplift which would do more for recruitment and retention than "golden hellos".

Doug McAvoy

General secretary

National Union of Teachers

Mabledon Place

London W1

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