Gove on ‘war footing’ over pay

The Education Secretary is considering new anti-strike laws aimed at teaching unions, which are expected to take industrial action over the end of national pay deals. He’s also urged heads to deduct pay from teachers who work to rule.

Michael Gove welcomed the ‘greater flexibility’ of plans from the School Teachers’ Review Body to replace annual pay rises based on length of service with a stronger link to performance.

Annual pay rises of around £2,000 will be scrapped under the plans and headteachers given almost complete freedom to dictate salary increases for the best teachers, based on annual appraisals. The current system, based on national pay bargaining, has meant that long-serving but under-performing teachers are paid the same as more capable colleagues, the Daily Mail reports.

Mr. Gove’s department is said to be moving to a ‘war footing’ as he considers new anti-strike laws in response to union criticism and potential strike action. Chris Keates from the NASUWT said the recommendations “would leave behind the wreckage of a national pay framework” and added: “These proposals place virtually unlimited discretion on teachers’ pay in the hands of head teachers at a time when unfairness and discrimination are already rife.”

Members of some teaching unions have been taking action short of a strike over pay and pensions since October. Now the Education Secretary has written to head teachers, advising them that teachers who work to rule may be in breach of contract and could have pay deducted.

Russell Hobby from the NAHT said it was up to heads to deal with industrial action: “School leaders are not happy with the industrial action, but it is part of our job to sensitively manage its impact and we will make our own judgments about the best course of action to meet the needs of our schools.”

What do you think of plans to base your pay on your performance? Would you take strike action?

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