Put pay deal terms to a teachers' ballot

4th January 2008 at 00:00
You reported that teachers would now know what their pay would be for the next three years (TESS, December 21). True enough, but what you didn't report was how disappointed they would be with the deal.

With the soaring price of fuel and food, the current retail price index (RPI) - the real cost of living - is rising by 4.1 per cent. Gordon Brown's New Labour is trying to impose pay rises of 2 per cent and Alex Salmond's SNP is little better. Both agree that the economic crisis caused by the banks and the cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan must be paid by public sector workers. But holding down public sector pay doesn't cut inflation; it just cuts our living standards.

This deal is a pay cut that no amount of creative accounting can disguise. It is not the 7.86 per cent reported. First, 0.5 per cent is being paid immediately as part of the current pay deal. Second, compounding the three rises is just deceitful - it is 2.25 per cent this year, 2.5 per cent next year and 2.4 per cent the year after. Average earnings in the private sector are rising at more than 4 per cent per year, so teachers will fall further behind again. This shoddy deal will not improve recruitment and retention; it will just further sap the morale of already overburdened teachers.

But is it really a done deal? The employers and the EIS would like to think so, but there are some of us in the EIS who will beg to differ. The January meeting of the EIS council will certainly hear calls for the deal to be rejected and for the pay deal to be put to a ballot of the members. EIS members should express their disappointment and anger by holding meetings and passing motions in their schools and sending in their dissent to Ronnie Smith. If this is such a good deal for teachers, then put it to a ballot and let them decide.

Andrew Fullwood (EIS council member for South Lanarkshire - writing in a personal capacity), Rodil Avenue, Glasgow.

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