Should teachers in Wales and England have the same pay and conditions?

6 Mar

Voice has always supported the concept of national pay and conditions for teachers in maintained schools. We believe that local, regional or school-based pay and conditions for teachers in state schools would be harmful and divisive for the profession and undermine equal pay. Large variations between areas or schools would cause an imbalance in employment.

This is why Voice, while supporting the current devolved system of education policy for Wales, has in the past opposed proposals for Wales and England to have separate pay and conditions for teachers, pointing out that staff in Wales near the border might be tempted to change employment for higher wages in England, making it difficult for their former schools to recruit replacements. Teachers in Wales could also, over time, find themselves worse off compared with colleagues in England.

TES reports that while the Chancellor of the Exchequer in London has plans for regional pay deals for teachers, the Welsh Government "is staunchly against any such move":

"During last year's Welsh Assembly election campaign, Plaid Cymru, then coalition partner with Labour, sparked anger when it pledged to devolve pay and conditions in its manifesto. Labour, which won the poll outright and now governs on its own, said this would undermine national pay bargaining, leading to poorer pay and conditions for teaching staff in Wales, and pledged to resist the move in its own manifesto. A spokesman for the Welsh Government said it had been 'clear that it does not intend to seek the devolution of teachers' pay and conditions. We are very concerned at the proposal by the UK government to look again at regional pay and will resist any such move'."

Should the current system remain or, with the increasing fragmentation of education in England, the rise of academies and free schools setting their own pay and conditions, and the possibility of regional pay, would Welsh teachers be better off with devolved pay and conditions?

Do let us know your views by adding your comments below. Alternatively, you can email cymru@voicetheunion.org.uk in confidence.

Your views help to inform Voice's policy.

Poll results:

Should teachers in Wales and England have the same pay and conditions? (Poll ran 17 February to 6 March 2012):

Yes: national pay & conditions for England & Wales should remain: 54% of votes

No: Wales should have its own pay & conditions: 46% of votes

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