Last month the National Union of Teachers voted to fight against government proposals to introduce regional pay for teachers. Teachers in London are currently paid more than teachers anywhere else (£4000-5000 more per annum), so why is it so unreasonable to suggest that teachers in Surrey – one of the most expensive areas of the country – should be paid more than teachers living and working in the North East or South Wales, where the cost of living is so much cheaper?
Back when I was in Swansea, all the Biology trainees and our tutor had a discussion about the prospect of regional pay and the general consensus was that it was a preposterous idea. I suppose because most of the group lived in an area where pay would be less made them more inclined to think that it was a bad idea.
Nick Clegg has denounced plans to introduce regional pay by saying that he would reject any action that would the exacerbate the divide between the North and the South. This looks set to be another test for the coalition as Michael Gove calls for the scrapping of national pay rates for the teaching profession.
The Department for Education has argued that in some areas, such as in the North East, East Midlands and the South West, it’s easier to hire staff inferring that teachers’ salaries in these areas could, theoretically, be less. This would leave other more expensive areas to pay larger salaries in order to attract staff.
Many people would think that I’m all for regional pay because I live in Surrey but this is not the case. I don’t think it’s fair that teachers in cheaper areas of the country end up having more disposable income than those living in more expensive parts when they’re doing exactly the same job. In the private sector regional pay is a given so why can the same not be said for the public sector?