WITH the country at a virtual standstill thanks to the biggest rail strike since 1989, teachers are threatening to walk out unless they get above-inflation pay rises. Since inflation is around 11 per cent and rising, thanks to the government’s lockdown and money-printing policies, this means rises of at least 12 per cent.
This might be a good moment to recall how reluctant teachers were to work during the ‘pandemic’. They pushed hard for the unnecessary closures which severely damaged education for a generation of children, as well as causing untold mental harm and in some cases resulting in physical harm, even death. They opposed reopening even though it was by then clear that they were at no more risk from Covid than any other workers, in fact at much less risk than some.
Teachers are told what to do by their powerful unions. Their leaders will be not short of a bob or two if their members strike. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed the 2020-21 pay packages of the top union leaders. The highest paid was Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, with a total remuneration of £216,387.
The joint heads of the National Education Union received £293,358 in total. Dr Mary Bousted received £152,398, while Kevin Courtney received £140,960 in the year up to August 2021.
Not only that, but taxpayers provide up to £83.3million so that education union representatives can take paid time off to attend to their union duties. The TPA found that education public bodies such as schools and universities had at least 4,423 trade union representatives in 2020-21, of whom 57 spent 100 per cent of their working hours on union duties. The government requires the education bodies to publish their facility time information but more than four in five defy this requirement.
The Department for Education says the starting salary for a new teacher is between £25,714 and £32,157 depending on location. This rises to £37k-£42,624 for non-leadership positions. It points out that teachers have more time off than other professions, working 195 days per year compared with the office average of 227, and says the teachers’ pension scheme is one of the most generous in the country.
Should teachers use the inflation crisis, caused by policies which they supported more strongly than almost any other group in the country, to achieve a big pay rise? Feel free to discuss this or anything else on your mind.