It has come to my attention over the last few days that when teachers go on strike on 30th November and close your school, costing you a dayâ€™s holiday or a full dayâ€™s pay the teacher causing you this pain will only effectively lose half a dayâ€™s pay.
The national Ts and Cs for teachers in England and Wales, the so-called Burgundy book, specify that deductions should only be made at a rate of 1/365th. Section 3.2 reads as follows:
In addition to the provisions of Sections 4, 5 and 6, where authorised unpaid leave of absence or unauthorised absence (e.g. strike action) occurs deductions of salary shall be calculated at a daily or part-daily rate based on the dayâ€™s salary being 1/365th of a year for each day of the period of absence.
The upshot is that teachers are only really losing half a dayâ€™s pay. Teachers barely work for half of the days of the year. When they need training parents, outrageously, have to deal with so-called INSET days in term time. The 1/365th formula would be fair if teachers went on strike on a public holiday, on a weekend day or gave up a holiday day. Maybe they are planning the next teachersâ€™ strike on Christmas day? But they donâ€™t therefore they should be losing about 1/180th of their annual salary, twice as much as agreed.
Such pay deductions, as the recentÂ New York labor posters clearly show, are legally treated as damages to reimburse the employer for the services lost due to withdrawal of labour. The loss to employers is a day of face time in front of children. This is worth at least twice as much as the deduction of 1/365th.
The number for non-teaching staff at 1/260th is also too generous. It does not account for annual leave and public holidays. Most public service workers get more than 20 days holiday plus 8 days public holiday so 28-40 days need to be lopped off the 260. Other public service workers are getting a 15% discount typically when they buy back a day of time when on strike.
The disparity between teaching and non-teaching staff shows how ludicrous this very expensive concession to teachers is. The school cleaner will be a lot worse off than the head on strike days.
During the last teacher’s strike over pensions on 30th June (another dayâ€™s holiday blown for the people who pay the bills) 850 Ealing teachers went on strike and the council saved Â£110K due to deductions from their pay. It should have been twice this much if the employers had negotiated a sensible set of Ts and Cs with this particular group of staff.
Overall the country will be paying out Â£100 millions for work not done on 30th November. Striking should be twice as expensive for teachers. They clearly like it too much at the current price.