Unsettling news for teachers?

Official inflation is 2.1% but unofficially – that is to say, in the real world – it’s much higher. The retail price index, a more realistic measure of inflation, is 4%.

The pay offer for teachers (in England and Wales) is in line with the pay review body’s recommendation – something which did not happen for the police.

So that’s the end of the “public sector pay causes inflation” myth, then.

The fact that teachers have the right to strike will not go unnoticed by the police, who lack this basic right.

Could it be that the government gave a better offer to the teachers because they feared a strike? Yep. That’s it…

But no, wait – a three-year deal? That’s a bit harder to swallow.

Ed Balls, the absurdly-named education minister, is a close ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The 2.45% deal is direct from Brown, a sign that his planned pay cap is not working.

The strategy now is to split public sector workers – prevent an alliance of public sector unions, at all costs.

The cost this time has been the headline-grabbing offer which breaks the 2% pay cap.

The attitude of police and prison officers – and other workers – should not be envy or enmity towards teachers, but anger at the government’s attacks on their living standards and working conditions.

What to do to get back at the government? For starters those unions affiliated to Labour should stop financing New Labour….

This issue of workers’ rights and pay cuts has a national dimension, too. The prison officers have been banned from taking strike action, but not in Scotland. The independent pay review body’s recommendation on police pay was ignored, but not in Scotland.

The Scottish government’s decisions are based on the SNP’s desire for Scottish independence – the argument for continuing to allow prison officers their rights and for giving police the pay increase recommended by the independent review is that public servants need to feel valued for the hard work they do.

Food inflation is growing at the fastest rate on record, fuel and transport costs are also increasing by double digit percentages (note that there will be no action by Ofgem, the energy regulator, despite rising bills).

Given that we all have to eat, heat our homes, and travel on a regular basis, all that can be done in this situation is demand more pay. This is not out of greed, but necessity.

Unite, Unison and the GMB are demanding a 6% increase for council staff – a not unreasonable demand considering the increases in food, fuel, and travel costs.

So, can we assume that teachers will say, “No deal“?

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3 Responses to “Unsettling news for teachers?”

  1. David Lindsay Says:

    See my blog for new proposals re: working-class representation.

  2. Leftwing Criminologist Says:

    “The attitude of police and prison officers – and other workers – should not be envy or enmity towards teachers”

    I wouldn’t lump the police and prison officers together, there are difference in consciousness with these groups, with prison officers having a left-led union, whereas the police don;t have a proper union. Similarly prison officers probably have a left-led union as they’ve had their conditions under attack fro a long time from first overcrowding, then privatisation and now both and pay cuts, whereas the police have had an index which has given them fairly generous pay increases – until now!

  3. charliemarks Says:

    For sure. I’m aware of the distinction between police and prison officers – the latter group has recently struck in a stunning display of wildcat action, something the Police Federation would never dream of!

    I’ve made the point elsewhere that the effect of PCOs (cops on the cheap, from the government perspective) who can and do unionise, has had on rank and file police – they can see that the people they work alongside who can threaten to strike are getting (slightly) higer pay offers from the government.

    My point in the quote was that we shouldn’t fall for the argument that the police are losing out to teachers or that prison officers are losing out to… etc.

    I must apologise, by the way, for not including your blog on my roll – til now, that is! I concur that we should reject the view – prevelant amongst class conscious workers – that the police are all Tories, etc. It’s been heartening to see co-operation between the FBU and the POA on drawing the Police Federation into discussions about how to deal with the government’s offensive on pay and conditions.


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