6 December 2012
This week’s budget announcement included the revelation that Gove is looking at scrapping all national pay bargaining for teachers, and putting all teachers on performance related pay. Schools are under huge pressure to teach to the test and to jump through ever smaller hoops, and this would crystallise the testing situation and make payment by results a disaster for education, for pupils and for teachers. There is no evidence that performance related pay has ever worked to improve results, morale, performance or education. In fact the opposite is true. PRP leads to pay cuts. It will also cause a rift between teachers and Head teachers. Every lesson observation would be fraught with anxiety for both the observer and the observed. Favouritism, bullying and victimisation against those that speak out could flourish.
This is the biggest challenge we have faced in teaching for many decades and comes on top of a pay freeze and a huge attack on our pensions. In FE when national pay was scrapped, salaries plummeted. We must not let the teaching profession be decimated in this way.
We already have a ballot in place. If we delay in calling a programme of strike action, we lose any chance of defeating PRP. There is a period of consultation until April, so we must act quickly and decisively. If other unions strike with us, then we will have a better chance of winning, but we must strike alone if need be. If we strike we are speaking up for all of those hurt by this austerity budget; for the unemployed, those on welfare and those facing cuts in services. This should then put pressure on the TUC make a serious move towards calling a general strike. Our movement stepped back from the pension fight a year ago, but now with more severe cuts looking set to last for years, we must take action and be inspired by teachers in Chicago and Slovakia, who have lead big and angry strikes. Teachers will be proud to lead the fight back against austerity.
Sara Tomlinson Lambeth NUT sec (pc) @teachertomo