NASUWT general secretary puts “ministers on notice” at annual conference

NASUWT – The Teachers Union “won’t cease until a better deal for all teachers is secured”, vowed General Secretary, Dr Patrick Roach, in his speech to teachers at the NASUWT Annual Conference in Birmingham today.

In his address to Annual Conference, the NASUWT General Secretary “put Ministers on notice” as the Union demands a programme of “pay restoration for all teachers” outlining “a minimum” of a 12% pay award from this September” and warned “if that means supporting our members with industrial action then so it will be”.

The NASUWT General Secretary’s pledge follows research that finds two out of every three teachers are worried about their financial situation. In his speech, Dr Patrick Roach highlighted:

“Across the board, teachers’ pay has been slashed by at least 19% since 2010.

“Supply teachers have been pushed to the brink of extinction after decades of assault on their pay and the failure of governments properly to regulate the profiteering agencies that now dominate the education landscape.

“Many teachers are relying on credit cards, overdrafts and even food banks. 12% have taken a second job to make ends meet and the cost-of-living crisis is still set to get even worse, but the response from the Government in Westminster has been pitiful.”

Despite successive Government commitments to protect education spending, in the last decade, budgets have fallen by 10% to the detriment of pupils and their teachers:

“Under this Government, teachers have seen – not only in the last 2 years – but over the last 12 years, the education system they prize and cherish undermined to its very foundations.

“Last month, the Chancellor’s spring statement signalled yet more pressure to come on public spending right across the UK. This isn’t building back better. This isn’t levelling up.”

“We need a better deal that works for all children and young people. We need real terms investment in education and in the teaching profession because you can’t build a great education system without teachers”.

The NASUWT – Annual Conference has revealed the extent of the crisis facing the teaching profession, suffering from unprecedent workload, wellbeing, and financial pressures. Urgent intervention and support is needed from Governments and employers to protect the future of education and educators.

Outlining a Better Deal for Teachers as the solution, the NASUWT General Secretary stressed that “delivering world-class education for every child requires that our schools and colleges are world-class workplaces, too.”

The NASUWT General Secretary specified the Union’s expectations that a Better Deal for Teachers must include:

A Government that is on the side of teachers

A contractual working time limit for teachers that will be enforced

The right for teachers to switch off and disconnect from work at the end of the day and at weekends

Trust for teacher professionalism and ending the culture of micromanagement and surveillance

Ending the licence to bully, discriminate and abuse teachers and scrapping the link between teacher performance and pay

A real pay rise for every teacher

Respect, security, and dignity at work

The ending of fire and rehire

Banning of zero hours contracts

Decent sick pay rights for all

An end to racism and all forms of discrimination at work

More help for families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis

Addressing NASUWT members from across the UK, Dr Patrick Roach affirmed:

“You have delivered a clear message that Ministers must be held responsible for any disruption caused by their failure to deliver an immediate programme of restorative pay awards for teachers.

“We won’t cease until we secure a better deal for all of our members. And, if that means supporting our members with industrial action then so it will be.

“Conference – ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is the struggle for fairness, decency and a better deal for teachers.”