Using equality data in tackling pay progression
This guide is for reps and officers to highlight how pay progression data can be used as an organising and bargaining tool at a local level.
Why is collecting information on pay important?
The NEU annual pay progression survey which goes to all NEU members has repeatedly shown disparities in pay progression rates for groups with protected characteristics. Teachers who are pregnant or on maternity leave, disabled teachers and teachers from a Black and ethnic minority background are more likely to be denied pay progression. Teachers who work part-time, job share or in any other flexible arrangement are more likely to be denied pay progression than their full-time counterparts. This adversely impacts on women as they are more likely to have flexible arrangements due to their caring and childcare responsibilities.
Collecting data from your workplace will help discover any disparities at a local level.
Who will make the request for pay progression data?
The NEU rep or official who has the key negotiating relationship with the employer should make the request. For community and voluntary controlled schools this is the branch secretary, for voluntary aided, foundation and stand-alone academies it is the school rep and for multi-academy trusts (MATs) it will be the NEU lead officer, lead rep or branch secretary.
How can I make the request?
Officers and reps are advised to first use the letter which states that you are making the request in accordance with section 181 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, which entitles the NEU, as a recognised trade union, to receive the information for collective bargaining purposes.
If the employer refuses to comply with the request, use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) model letter to make the request. Further actions that can be undertaken if the FOIA request is refused are available on the SharePoint.
When should requests be sent?
Decisions on pay progression are usually taken by 31 October. Requests for pay progression data can be submitted any time after the beginning of term and it is sensible to submit them no later than 30 September. You should ask for the information to be sent to you as soon as it is available and no later than 31 December.
Negotiators, lead reps and officers should share the information received with the bargaining support unit by 30 January so that it can be discussed and reviewed at national level.
What information is the NEU asking the employer to provide?
With the initial request letter, you should send the template spreadsheet (available on SharePoint) which has been designed for the employer’s convenience and will make it easy for you to compile and analyse the information – details on the link below.
The information, if provided by the employer as requested, will not allow individuals to be identified personally.
What shall I look for in the data?
You shoud look at the calculation of progression rates, ie the percentage of eligible teachers who received pay progression. Rates of pay progression by gender and other protected characteristics is important and will help you to organise members and challenge the employer’s policy. More details on the link below.
How can I use the data?
Collecting pay scale and pay progression data will help you to organise members around the discriminatory nature of performance-related pay and build an argument around the erosion of pay scales and the negative impact on recruitment and retention.
You can also use the data for collective bargaining purposes and put pressure on employers to review their policy to help close the gender pay gap.