An education union has rejected a nine per cent pay increase for new teachers as inadequate and threatened to strike if a better offer is not made.
The joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU) wrote to the secretary of state Nadhim Zahawi asking him to address the “ profound crisis” in the industry this week.
This comes after it was reported that Zahawi had wanted to give 130,000 teachers in England who are in their first five years in the job, a nine per cent pay rise, meaning starting salaries of £30,000.
The bid for higher pay comes amid a cost of living crisis with inflation above nine per cent, and the price of food, fuel and energy skyrocketing.
Rail, postal, airline and even telecommunications workers have all threatened to take industrial action in the near future, citing rising costs of living.
According to the Times, Zahawi also wanted to give a five per cent pay increase to 380,000 staff, up from the originally proposed three per cent.
But in an angry joint letter from the NEU’s Joint General Secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, they said the industry is struggling with both teacher recruitment and retention plummeting.
They claim “teacher pay has fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010” and the “combination of unsustainable hours, the work intensity” and falling pay, is driving people away from teaching.
Training applications are down by 24 per cent while one in eight newly-qualified educators quit in their first year, they said. “This attrition itself causes even more workload problems for remaining staff” they added, as they plead with Zahawi to “take action to address this profound crisis”, with an “inflation-plus increase for all”.
They said that “failing sufficient action by you, in the Autumn Term, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action.. and we will be strongly encouraging them to vote yes.”
Speaking this morning on the BBC, Bousted said Zahawi’s offer of nine per cent for beginner teachers “does not really shift the dial on the government’s plan to reach a £30,000 starter salary within two years.”
She urged the government to “engage with us directly and negotiate”.