Some teachers not able to feed their family, NASUWT warns

Written by: Moira Sharkey | Published:
Taking a stand: Teachers vote on a motion during the NASUWT’s annual conference in Cardiff (Photo: Simon Boothe/NASUWT)

Teachers not able to feed their families or move out of their parents' home is the appalling legacy of the coalition government, NASUWT chiefs have claimed.

They say that in the last five years teachers have experienced a real-terms 15 per cent pay cut and it warns if a Tory government returns to power things will only get worse.

Sixty-two per cent of teachers who responded to the NASUWT's Big Question survey and were eligible for pay progression said they had not received it this year and less than half (43 per cent) said they are paid for the full range of responsibilities they undertake.

Over three quarters (78 per cent) of teachers who responded to the survey do not think teaching is competitive with other professions in terms of pay and over two thirds (67 per cent) believe that people are being put off a career in teaching because of the pay.

Delegates at the union's annual conference in Cardiff unanimously agreed to take any action necessary including industrial action to secure proper pay levels.

NASUWT National Executive member Michael Grant, who began teaching in 1974, said that when he received his first pay packet of £96 he thought it was a joke. He had earned more as an unskilled worker in a foundry in Hull. Since 2010 we are going back to those days, he claimed.

He told delegates: "The growth of in-work poverty would shock you. There are a significant number of members who cannot feed their families. It is an appalling legacy of five years of this government."

He said the evidence shows it is not just a real-terms pay cut for teachers but a backward step for the gender pay gap.

Mr Grant told delegates that you could go back to 1957 when there were two pay tables, one for women and one for men. Women got 10 per cent less. He added that that gap was comparable to today.

"I am sick to death of colleagues worrying if they can feed their families at the end of the month," he added to a rapturous response from delegates.

Member Tamsin Clube said that for young people in some parts of the UK, a teacher's salary was not enough to move out of their parents' home.

"I can't get a mortgage to buy a home. That is the case for young people in the East, London, and South West. How is it fair that young teachers can't afford to move out of our parents' house?
"Young members in particular are being denied what many people would consider basic things, food and clothing. It is not about wanting wealth and riches but a basic respect and basic rights.
"Why should the government get champers and second homes when young people and young teachers are falling into poverty."

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