Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Have supply teachers been sold down the river?

The phrase "sold down the river" comes from the days of slavery in America when escaping slaves were sold back into slavery by those who were pretending to liberate them.

So when we saw that an unholy alliance of the SWP, CDFU, STA, the right wing and possibly the people's front of Judea were arrayed against the interests of supply teachers in the debate on the West Sussex amendment then supply teachers could legitimately feel they had been sold down the river. The policy the STA et al were advocating was that cover supervisors should be "used for no more than the first three days of absence in secondary schools and no more than the first day of absence in primary schools." Imagine how heads in schools where the members have held the line over teaching on the cheap will crow at that news. "Your own union says you have to accept (the criminal exploitation of) cover supervisors"

During the conference the president interrupted precisely two delegates - supporters of Classroom Teacher who were speaking in that debate.

"A teachers' job on a cleaner's wage" was how the conditions of cover supervisors were described at NUT conference.

The WSTA amendment which would have outlined a strategy to end the exploitation of cover supervisors and seek to reinstate teachers' pay and conditions for supply teachers was not carried.

This will not stop WSTA and Classroom Teacher seeking to support supply teachers. We will use email, facebook and more traditional methods to contact our supply teacher members. We will publicise the conditions of supply teachers to the rest of our membership. We will continue to seek alternatives to agencies and the scandalous policy of "teaching on the cheap."



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