JOHN McDONNELL called on Tory backbenchers yesterday to back Labour’s plans to lift the public-sector pay cap as teachers face another year of pay restraint.
The shadow chancellor has written to all Conservative back-bench MPs asking them to support proposals to reverse the government’s planned £2.5 billion cut in corporation tax and lift the 1 per cent public-sector pay cap.
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon the pay cap for nurses, teachers and other public-sector workers, with even some Cabinet ministers no longer backing it.
Education Secretary Justine Greening confirmed that teachers faced another year of pay restraint as unions renewed warnings of a staffing crisis in the profession.
NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney said the government would come to regret a “missed opportunity” to end the policy “as the teacher recruitment and retention crisis gets worse.”
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted agreed, adding that ministers’ decision to stick with “austerity pay” sent the wrong signal to exhausted school staff.
And NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates protested that the School Teachers Review Body was subjected to “unacceptable pressure” from the Department for Education to maintain the 1 per cent limit.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner pointed out that teachers are facing a “real-terms pay cut” due to the arbitrary cap on their earnings.
“With pay rises for the vast majority of teachers capped below inflation, they will be worse off in a year as a direct result of this government’s policies,” she said.
In his letter, Mr McDonnell called on back-bench Tory MPs to “put aside party differences” so public-sector workers can be rewarded for their hard work.