NASUWT: Attacks on teachers’ working conditions are attacks on children and young people

Teachers’ pay and conditions of service are being used as a mechanism to open the education system to the market, the NASUWT has warned.

The calculated demolition of the national framework of pay and conditions of service will trigger a spiral of decline in education, the NASUWT told the TUC Congress in Bournemouth.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The dismantling of the national pay framework is bad for children’s education and bad for the teaching profession. Yet the Secretary of State arrogantly and recklessly continues to cut pay, plunder pensions and hack to pieces national salary scales.

“The pay proposals place virtually unlimited discretion on teachers’ pay in the hands of headteachers at a time when unfairness and discrimination are already rife.

“Children and young people should have an entitlement to be taught by those who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals. The Secretary of State’s reckless attack on teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions will not secure this.”

Speaking for the motion on Fair Pay and Standards in the Public Sector, NASUWT ex-President Suzanne Nantcurvis, said:

“The Government is short changing our children. Indeed, it is your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews we are talking about. In the education system, we are moving towards those old divisions – those who can pay and those who cannot.

“This is no way to run an education system and it undervalues the importance of education to our society.”


Notes to editors

Suzanne Nantcurvis was speaking to Composite Motion 7:

C07 Fair pay and standards in the public sector

Motions 17 and amendments, 18, 19 and amendment, and 20 and amendments

Congress condemns the public sector pay freeze and ongoing pay cap.

Pay has failed to keep pace with the cost of living and many public sector workers have been hit with actual pay cuts due to pay freezes and higher pensions contributions, with prices rising faster than pay every month since November 2009 and wage cuts for UK workers the deepest since records began.

Workers are collectively losing £50bn a year due to the restricting of pay in both the private and public sectors.

Congress welcomes the TUC report Where Have all the Wages Gone? that highlighted the fall in share of national income going to wages over the last 30 years while the proportion going to profits increased.

Congress congratulates unions for their national and local campaigns against the pay freeze, threats of regional and local pay and attempts to undermine
national structures and agreements.

Congress is encouraged that community and industrial campaigns for a living wage, as a means of bringing pay up and not levelling it down, have
gathered momentum.

Congress is deeply concerned by the rise of casualisation, the use of zero hours contracts, that appears to have grown rapidly in the health sector over the past two years, extending into most job roles, attacks on terms and conditions, agency  worker loopholes, unpaid standby and travel time and longer working hours, especially in social care.

Congress deplores the attacks on the professional status of teachers in England and Wales and from publicly funded employers in further and higher education. Introducing performance-related pay will further demoralise teachers and will trigger a decline in the quality of education that children and young people receive.

Congress asserts that the attack on teachers’ terms  and conditions is a naked attempt to encourage predatory companies to make a profit out of children’s education.

Congress notes the despicable actions of the coalition government to bankroll a raft of hostile organisations to intimidate teachers and undermine teacher unions.

Congress is alarmed that the government is now attacking pay progression. Pay progression supports skills acquisition, recruiting and retaining staff, the delivery of equal pay and structures that provide a transparent pathway to a rate for the job, thus saving the public sector money.

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i campaign for an end to the public sector pay cap, to protect pay progression and equal pay for work of equal value, an equal pay strategy
prioritised in both the private and public sectors, and the outlawing of zero hours contracts

ii campaign for a living wage and ‘fair wages’ clause in public procurement, as part of a strategy to end in-work poverty

iii support the maximum number of unions coordinating necessary industrial action, across sectors where possible, as the most effective way to break the cycle of pay restraint

iv oppose any proposals to further restrict the right of trade unionists to make efforts to defend their working conditions through collective action, sharing best practice on potential legal challenges

v call on the government to engage with all public sector unions to deliver a meaningful, long-term reward strategy for the public sector and lobby political parties to support collective bargaining and a national framework of pay and conditions

vi campaign to maintain teachers’ national pay  and conditions of service and the entitlement of all children to be taught by qualified teachers

vii research the extent of zero-hours and other forms of casualised contracts across sectors

viii provide guidance and material for trade unions to win public opinion.


Seconder: National Union of Teachers

Supporters: NASUWT; FDA; Public and Commercial
Services Union; Prospect; University and College
Union; Educational Institute of Scotland; Chartered
Society of Physiotherapy; Transport Salaried Staffs’
Association; Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists