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Chanie Rosenberg

Young Teachers Step Up Fight
for More Pay

(21 September 1968)

From Socialist Worker, No. 89, 21 September 1968, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

WAGES will be the key issue at the Young Teachers’ conference at Loughborough this week-end.

Young teachers, who start work at the age of 22, earn £800 a year rising after 14 years to £1,500.

Rates in Britain are almost the lowest in Europe. Swedish teachers get more than double the British rate and in Finland, Germany, Denmark and Holland they get 1½ times as much?

In the last 50 years, teachers’ salaries have risen less than in almost every other section of the community, managers, administrators and foremen’s incomes rose by 100 per cent in this time, skilled and unskilled workers by a mere 20 per cent.

The National Union of Teachers with more than a quarter of a million members, is one of the most backward and conservative unions. The executive can be guaranteed to back-pedal on any militant action called for by the rank and file.


The rash of unofficial strikes in 1961, the decision for regional strikes passed at the special salaries conference last year, and the solidarity shown when the union subsequently fought its pathetic “dinner sanctions” battle, all show that teachers will back a fight for better conditions.

The Left was led, up to about 1961, by the Communist Party, which had a very strong teachers’ faction. In its virile days it not only fought for better conditions but also fed the educational world with socialist ideas.

But with the disintegration of the party the heart has gone out of its activity among teachers and its members are at sixes and sevens over every aspect of policy.

An attempt to fill the gap is being made by Rank and File which is an open forum for left-wing opinion in the educational world. It covers both the struggle for better teachers’ conditions and smaller classes and pupils’ conditions. The paper has made some headway in the union and its editors expect substantial support at their readers’ meeting on September 27.

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Last updated: 22 October 2020