Kuenssberg has Labour’s Phillipson squirming over pay disputes

Laura Kuenssberg grills Phillipson on teachers' pay row

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Laura Kuenssberg asked the Labour frontbencher whether she was fully backing teachers demanding a 12 percent pay increase as part of their ongoing raise dispute with the Government. Ms Phillipson insisted teachers were right to argue for an increase in wages but insisted she would opt to reach a “compromise” instead of refusing to sit at the negotiating table. But when the BBC presenter pressed on where the compromise between the teachers’ demands and the Government’s five percent counteroffer would be, the Labour MP struggled to provide a clear answer.

Ms Kuenssberg asked: “Are they right to hold out for 12 percent or is the Government right to say, ‘right, you can have five percent in England but no more than that because it’s not affordable?”

The Labour MP said: “They’re right to argue around pay, and their right to make the case around terms and conditions because I do think it’s both together.

“It’s come together at the worst possible time.”

The BBC host cut in to point out: “You’ve got five percent, on one hand, 12 percent on the other. Who’s right here?

“The Government doesn’t want to budge, the union doesn’t want to budge. Would you give them 12 percent?”

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Ms Phillipson said she would seek a compromise before hitting out at ministers refusing to hold talks with the unions: “The union is desperate to sit down around the table and have a conversation with ministers around this, who are refusing to discuss pay.

“If I were education secretary, I’d be sat around the table, trying to get a compromise.”

The response prompted Ms Kuennsberg to once again try to find what Labour’s idea of a fair agreement would be: “Where is the compromise then? Five percent, 12 percent – where is that compromise? You say you’d find a compromise if you were education secretary.”

Ms Phillipson said: “It’s often somewhere in the middle. And that’s why it’s a process of negotiation.

“It’s about pay but it’s also about terms and conditions. And what teachers tell me they feel is demoralised.

“The Government hasn’t had their back and they want to know there is hope for the future.”


Ambulance worker discusses patient care during strikes

Teachers across the UK have been threatening to bring education to a standstill over their pay disputes.

Union bosses in Scotland announced 16 strike dates last week, with the EIS Union confirming teachers in Stirling and East Renfrewshire will walk out on January 24.

Clackmannanshire will also see teachers taking part in industrial action on February 1.

And teachers on the Isle of Mann announced a six-day strike after the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) rejected a pay rise between eight percent and 11.9 percent.

NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “Responsibility for the escalation of our industrial action to strike action and any disruption caused as a result lies entirely with the DESC.

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“The revised pay offer tabled by the DESC represents yet another real-terms pay cut for teachers who have already seen the value of their pay fall by more than 30 percent in real terms since 2010.

“Teachers are unable to make ends meet due to soaring cost of living and years of pay erosion is adversely affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers.

“The last thing our members want to do is to take strike action but have been left with no other choice.

“The DESC must use the time available to engage with us to find a negotiated solution and we urge ministers to do so.”

The teachers’ strike comes amid a swathe of industrial action across the NHS and the transport network threatening to cause severe disruption over the Christmas period and the Winter.

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