Why did my union agree to these salary cuts?

9th December 2005 at 00:00
I too have lost pound;8,000 a year because of the abolition of management allowances, and the introduction of teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments ("Betrayal that cost pound;8,000", TES, November 25).

The argument that administrative tasks can be detached from teaching dissolves under closer analysis. I am informed that a senior manager (who I will train) will now be responsible for external and internal examinations and my administrative assistant (who I will train) will become exams officer. No change there, then!

My assistant who is happy to punch in data and organise desks is somewhat apprehensive about dealing with parents, disruptive behaviour, and complaining students. These are not administrative tasks, she argues.

Fortunately, as NASUWT representative at our college I have seen this coming for a long time and feel somewhat relieved that I will not have a teaching and learning responsibility.

Despite many meetings, discussions and the fairness of our new headteacher, one thing remains certain; this is the biggest pay cut teachers have ever had imposed upon them.

However, even this pales into insignificance when the true nature of TLR payments is taken into account. Their transient nature and strict relationship with performance will lead to staff conflict, over-zealous heads and despotic governors. Failure to address staff development at the younger end will force many to take work on for no reward.

Many teachers in my college are just waking up to what TLR payments will mean to their work-life balance and pay; a little too late I'm afraid.

The irony is that my union has negotiated this change!

I still hope for real change when class teachers are paid a wage that reflects their responsibilities.

There is one thing I will change though: my union!

Nigel Short

33 Warning Tongue

Lane Bessacarr

Doncaster

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