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Teachers to walk out over unfair' pay deal

PUBLISHED: 18:10 17 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 07 September 2010

SCHOOLS in Haringey will close next week as teachers take part in the first nationwide strike in two decades over pay. The majority of schools will close on Thursday when 2,000 teachers, including some headteachers, walk out, estimates Ha

Charlotte Newton

SCHOOLS in Haringey will close next week as teachers take part in the first nationwide strike in two decades over pay.

The majority of schools will close on Thursday when 2,000 teachers, including some headteachers, walk out, estimates Haringey National Union of Teachers.

The union represents 85 per cent of teachers in the borough.

Disaffected teachers are protesting over plans to increase their pay in 2008 by 2.45 per cent - below the 4.1 per cent level of inflation.

Haringey NUT secretary Tony Brockman said: "The government is wrong to determine a pay increase for teachers below the rate of inflation.

"The consequences of real term pay cuts are familiar to us. They were a feature of the 'boom and bust' years before 1997. In that period, schools suffered from recruitment and retention problems - there were teacher shortages and morale was low.

"To bring the best young graduates into the profession, teachers' salaries need to be competitive with those for graduates in the private sector. Our children deserve the best.

"Young teachers need to be treated fairly. Paying them at levels which are not competitive with those of other graduate professions, and making them unable to take even their first step on the housing ladder, will damage recruitment.

"The government needs to think again and ensure that salaries at least keep pace in line with inflation and that there is recognition of the continuing workload pressures on teachers."

Newly qualified teachers in Haringey earn a minimum of £24,168 per annum.

This increases to £33,936 after five years. Headteachers can earn up to £100,000.

Teachers also qualify for the key worker scheme, which offers individuals equity loans of up to £50,000.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "The average salary for all teachers has increased by 19 per cent since 1997. Teachers pay has never been better and there are more opportunities than ever to develop their careers.

"A strike will only serve to disrupt children's learning, inconvenience parents and place a burden on fellow teachers. We will support headteachers and local authorities to keep schools open and minimise disruption for parents.

"The teachers' pay award was recommended by the independent School Teachers' Review Body (STRB). The government accepted this advice in full. It was welcomed by all the other teaching unions. So it is disappointing that a small proportion of teachers are threatening to disrupt children's education in this way.

"The three-year pay deal proposed by the STRB means teachers' pay will continue to rise in real terms.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: "Parents have been notified of the possibility of strike action and school closures. Detailed information will be provided when schools are back from the Spring break."

charlotte.newton@hamhigh.co.uk

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