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Education unions criticise pay freeze in response to review

EDUCATION unions have criticised the pay freeze imposed on teachers and school leaders by the government in a joint response to the school teachers’ review body consultation today.

The sector’s union leaders said that there was no justification for the pay freeze on teachers as the body’s consultation period came to an end.

They said that with RPI inflation at almost 4 per cent, teachers and school leaders were facing another significant real-terms pay cut.

The response also highlighted the urgent need to address recruitment and retention problems, warning that pay cuts would only worsen the issue, and called for the restoration of a fair national pay structure and the end of performance-related pay.

National Education Union joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “Teachers and school leaders are key workers who have shown their value to the country during the pandemic and will be essential to the recovery from the pandemic. 

“The government must change course and support them instead of attacking their pay.”

School leaders’ union NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “Pay for experienced teachers and leaders has been severely eroded over the past decade, while at the same time they have been asked to take on more and more.

“Ultimately the government has a very simple task: pay these people properly for the essential work they do.”

Association of School and College Lecturers general secretary Geoff Barton said that the government has dealt a body blow to the morale of teachers with its decision to freeze pay.

He said: “Its short-sightedness further reduces the incentive for people to join or remain in the profession and puts at risk the supply line of teachers which is essential for our schools to deliver a high-quality education to children and young people.”

Voice, the education and early years section of Community, assistant general secretary Deborah Lawson said that the ongoing pay freeze means there is no financial incentive to remain in the profession or join it, leaving key workers demoralised and exhausted.  

In Wales, teaching assistants met with education minister Jeremy Miles today to urge him to tackle poor working conditions during the Unison Cymru Wales school support staff forum.

They highlighted issues of low pay, a lack of career opportunities and part-time casual working.

 

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