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Ending the exploitation of supply teachers requires a government that is “on the side of working people” the NASUWT’s Deputy General Secretary has told members, but the NASUWT is continuing to make the case to politicians for an end to the “unscrupulous profiteering” of the supply agency system.
 
Addressing members at the Union’s Supply Teachers Consultation Seminar in Warwick, Dr Patrick Roach outlined the work being undertaken by the NASUWT on behalf of supply teachers which has included securing an end to the loophole which allowed agencies to pay a supply teacher less than another teacher even after the 12 week qualifying period under the Agency Workers Regulations, the repeal of the two tier supply teacher pay system in Scotland and securing a commitment from the Westminster Government for new legal obligations in respect of the information employment agencies must provide to all agency workers.
 
Dr Roach highlighted the fact that around three-quarters of the £1billion spent annually by schools on supply teachers goes to employment agencies. The NASUWT has been collating evidence of the exploitative practices and market failures in relation to supply agencies and has presented this to the Government and politicians.
 
Dr Roach acknowledged that more needs to be done to ensure all supply teachers can access decent working conditions and told members he shared their frustration that securing reforms is difficult in the current political climate.
 
“Ending the exploitation of supply teachers means, first and foremost having a government on the side of working people. First and foremost, a government that is willing to intervene” he said.
 
“Stronger regulation of the supply agency industry through national standards, independent inspection and enforcement of employment would be good first step. But better still, publically controlled arrangements should be the vision for a national education service that delivers rights and entitlements for every child and for the workforce.”
 
He told the Conference that the Union is continuing to make the case to local authorities and multi academy trusts for the reinstatement of local supply pools while also pressing for improvements to the current systems of employment for supply teachers across the UK.
 
“It remains our priority to continue to press for alternatives to end the discrimination and exploitation of supply teachers, the unscrupulous and unjustified system of profiteering by supply agencies and to secure national political commitment, regulation and legislation needed to ensure equal treatment for supply teachers” he told members.
 
Dr Roach went on to argue that a no deal Brexit would risk the hard fought for workplace rights of teachers, including rights for agency workers, and would exacerbate the growth of insecure and exploitative employment practices which supply teachers are exposed to.
 
“This Government’s idea of good work is not ours. Freedom for employers, cutting red tape, no health and safety inspections, casualisation, low pay, work till you drop.
 
“That’s why we are continuing to make the case, including with the Labour Party and the TUC, for a new deal for working people.
 
“That means calling for a ban on zero hours contracts and bogus self-employment, a decent floor of rights and protections for all workers, including agency workers, to have the same rights as employees from day one, including the right to a decent occupational pension and the right to collective bargaining on pay and working conditions.”

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