Pay increase for Luton teachers

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: September 13, 1919]

Last night, an agreement was arrived at between the Luton Education Committee and the deputation from the Luton teachers concerning the question of increased salaries in the form of a bonus. Married teachers will draw £40 a year bonus, and unmarried teachers £30, and the Education Committee have recommended this to the Council, together with the recommendation to the Council in July last – to bring all Luton teachers on to the higher scale of salaries forthwith.

The question had been under consideration for some considerable time, and the teachers adopted a very insistent attitude in the matter, firmly convinced that the Education Authority would ultimately recognise their just claims.

It is pleasing to be able to record that such a satisfactory solution of the problem has been reached, thus obviating the painful and very undesirable position which would inevitably have accrued failing a definite settlement of the question.

The Education Committee received the deputation (Salaries Committee) from the Luton teachers at their meeting on Tuesday, consequent upon the receipt of the following letter from the Branch Secretary of the teachers:

“I am directed by my Association to express surprise and dissatisfaction that the teachers' representatives, appointed on July 23th with executive power to negotiate with the Education Committee, have not yet been called into conference with the Authority.

“Six weeks have now elapsed since the Education Committee's report on salaries was withdrawn from the Council meeting for the express purpose of further conference with the teachers, and we feel we have strong cause for complaint at this further delay in dealing with this important matter.

“The question, not only in the interest of the Committee and the teachers, but also in the interest of the educational welfare of the town, is now so urgent that I am instructed to ask finally that the teachers' representatives be received by the Education Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, September 9th.

“My Association has instructed its Salaries Sub-Committee to be in attendance at the time of the Committee's meeting, prepared to be called into conference with the Education Committee, in order to arrive at a definite settlement, and in the events of their representatives not being received, the teachers will be forced by the urgency of their case to take such public action as appears to be warranted by the circumstances.”

At this meeting, however, no definite conclusion was arrived at. Owing to the fact that various members of the Education Committee had to attend subsequent public meetings, and as it was considered most desirable that the question should be considered by as full a committee as possible, the conference was adjourned until last night.

The Committee sat in committee at six o'clock and, after further deliberation, the deputation was received, the Committee subsequently resolving into open session, at which the result of the conference was made public.

The members of the Committee present were: Councillor George Warren (in the chair), Alderman H. Arnold (Deputy Chairman), Alderman H. O. Williams, Mesdames Mahon and Slatter, Councillors Briggs, M. Barford, W. J. Primett and W. Merchant, and Messrs P. Blundell, F. Ellis and G. Fyson, with the Secretary (Mr P. J. Carter).

Immediately upon the Committee resolving into open session, Alderman Arnold rose and said: “As Chairman of the Staffing Committee, it would be as well for me to move formally that as a result of the conference with the teachers here this evening, we definitely accede to the request that was made some time ago, and which was incorporated in our recommendations to the Council on July 8th.

“We then recommended to place all teachers, according to their position, on the higher scale of salaries. We have also met them in regard to the bonus and, as a result of the conference this evening, I propose that the bonus should be £40 to the married employees – teachers – and £30 for the unmarried ones. I think this covers every point.”

Councillor Primett, who seconded, said: “I think it should go forth that this is quite unanimous as far as this Committee is concerned. We have had a very pleasant conference with the teachers, in which very fair feeling was exhibited on both sides.

Alderman Williams said he thought it should be recorded that the Committee were reconsidering the scale in the ensuing spring.

The proposition was then put to the vote and carried unanimously.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee then moved that the financial estimate for the second half year be revised to meet the new situation. They had previously estimated, on the adoption of the new scale, £7,150, and now would have to be added £2,330 to cover the increased bonus, making a total estimated increase in salaries of £9,480. This was carried.

At the meeting of the teachers held later in the evening, the deputation conveyed the decision arrived at, and the teachers considered that a very reasonable settlement had been reached in view of all the circumstances, and pending the revision of the scale, to come into operation on April 1st next year.