#Budget2016: Teachers’ pay under attack
The Chancellor’s announcement on academies in today’s budget represents, among other things, a significant attack on national pay bargaining in a sector that is overwhelmingly made up of women workers.
The imposition of academy status on schools up and down the country matters to all of us. It matters to kids. It matters to parents. It should also matter to anyone who objects to local authority assets being handed over to private business.
It also matters a great deal to teachers and other school staff, the vast majority of whom are women.
80% of school staff are women, 91% of teaching assistants are women and 85% of primary school teachers are women. These are women who already work exceedingly long hours. According to the DfE’s own figures, school teachers work over 50 hours per week, with primary and secondary school head teachers reporting more than 60 hours. Anecdotal evidence suggests that working conditions in some academy chains are even tougher.
These are also women who have borne the brunt of public sector pay restraint for the past six years.
Academies are exempt from national pay bargaining which means that with one fell swoop, the government is doing away with national pay setting structures for school staff. As Paul Nowak wrote back in 2011, the unravelling of national pay bargaining will lead to less efficient and more chaotic local pay bargaining which will cost employers more in the long run and is more likely to lead to disputes. Furthermore, it risks widening the gender pay gap and income inequalities.