The government must remove the pay cap for public sector workers

Blog
26 July 2017 by ATL
The School Teachers’ Review Body’s latest report has at last been published. The report warns the government that action must be taken on teachers’ pay to help reverse the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

They recommended a one percent increase to the minimum and maximum of the upper, leadership and leading practitioner pay ranges and allowances. They also recommended a two percent increase to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range.

Since the election there has been much debate as to whether the government’s one percent cap on public sector pay should be lifted. Despite the fact that their Report was written and submitted in April, before the surprise election was called, the Review Body have made their view clear that they believe the pay cap is responsible for leaving teaching with one of the lowest starting salaries for graduate professions.

The TUC has estimated that the pay cap has meant that since 2010 teachers have suffered a real terms pay cut of 6.4% if inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 10.4% if measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI).[1] Of course, individual teachers will have experienced different levels of pay cut. The government’s decision to give additional flexibilities on pay to schools has led to many teachers being denied the pay progression and cost of living increases that they deserve. The joint ATL and NUT pay survey undertaken at the end of last year found that one in five eligible teachers were denied progression to the next point on the pay scale.[2]

It has been reported that the Chancellor believes that public sector workers, including teachers, are overpaid

 

It has been reported that the Chancellor believes that public sector workers, including teachers, are overpaid. We dispute this claim as it’s impossible to make accurate and meaningful comparisons between the two sectors. What we do know is that teachers are leaving in record numbers. Last year over 50,000 teachers left the profession. We accept that pay may not be the main factor that teachers have based their decision on but it will be one of the factors that has been added to the toxic mix of increasing workload and stress.

We know schools are struggling under financial pressures, which is why we have told the government they must make sure schools have the funding they need to ensure that every teacher gets the pay increase or progression they are entitled to.

The government must remove the pay cap for public sector workers. The next remit to the Review Body must allow them to make the recommendations on pay that they believe are needed to ensure that teaching remains an attractive profession and can recruit and retain sufficient staff to be able to teach the increasing numbers of pupils that have been forecast.

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