Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Teachers: Poxy Pay Proposal

Bad news for teachers today, as the government tells them they are to get a poxy 2.45% rise this year with rises of 2.3% in the next two years. With RPI-inflation running at 4.3%, this announcement may exceed Brown’s limit but is still a real-terms pay cut. Moreover, it is a multi-year offer, which would demand that the unions put away their weapons for three years while the employers attack their members’ livelihoods.

Almost unbelievably, this miserly offer has provoked objections that it is too generous, and breaks Gordon Brown’s 2% pay cap. Perhaps New Labour thinks that it can sell teachers and trade unionists a con – that they have ‘backed down’ over the pay cap, and that workers should therefore be grateful and not fight for more. Fortunately, most workers are not daft enough to swallow this, though we can not be so sure about union bureaucrats.

Mind you, even the notoriously right-wing Professional Association of Teachers has issued a statement expressing its disappointment.
No sign of action from the PAT, oh no, but more belligerent noises from the NUT, at least some of whose officials are saying that the union is ready to ballot members for strikes.

But while politicians continue to decry what they claim are poor standards among teachers, I have to moan about terrible standards of literacy among government representatives and the media. Since this story broke, they have persisted in referring to the government’s announcement as a ‘settlement’ and/or a ‘deal’. Listen very carefully, you at the back, this is an offer: it will only become a settlement when it is actually, erm, settled – which will hopefully not be until it has been massively increased and delivered as a one-year rise without strings.

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