HC Deb 01 December 1955 vol 546 cc2630-56

10.2 p.m.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Teachers' Salaries (Scotland) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 1955 (S.I., 1955, No. 1301), dated 17th August, 1955, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd August, be annulled. The purpose of the Regulations is twofold. They seek to prescribe the first two of seven increases in salary to be granted to women teachers in pursuance of the general policy of establishing equal pay for men and women. With that purpose, we on this side of the House are in complete agreement.

The Regulations, however, seek to attain another end. They prescribe two new scales for men holding the teachers' technical certificate in physical education and certain other subjects, who do not enter into training before 1st January next year. While we support the Regulations in their principal aim, we condemn them completely and without qualification in their second purpose. In our view, they seek to achieve two entirely different ends in one step, just as the Government so often seek to walk in two opposite directions at one and the same time.

The two new scales which have to be introduced for future entrants to teaching in the subjects named have lower maxima than the existing scales. The difference in the maximum of Scale Ina compared with the existing Scale III is £50, or approximately £1 a week. That is a serious reduction. The difference in the maximum of Scale IVa compared with existing Scale IV is £15. It may be said that that is not quite so serious. However, if we have a Tory Government imposing taxation on every nook and cranny they can find in every household, looking into every place where they may find a little domestic utility on which to inflict tax, then even a reduction of £15 in the maximum is bound to worry the teaching profession.

The Regulations also do this. While they increase the salaries for the women they also seek to achieve a reduction for certain men teachers. Whether this is deliberate or not, I know not; but having heard the views of some hon. Members on the other side of the House I can imagine, with some justification, knowing their opposition to the principle of equal pay among men and women teachers that there is some design in this reduction of the salaries of certain men at the same time as the salaries of women are being increased to implement the principle which so many hon. Members on the other side of the House oppose. There is no doubt that doing these two things at the same time is casting odium on the implementation of the principle of equal pay for men and women. It has created hostility. There can be no argument about that, and no one is better aware of that fact than the Joint Under-Secretary of State. We object to the Regulations on that ground.

There is a sort of defence. In Circular 310 we are told that there was a difficulty in implementing the principle of equal pay because of the structure of the existing scales. These existing scales, it should be pointed out, allow men who hold the Teacher's Technical Certificate to proceed to the maximum for the graduate teachers but keep the women who hold that certificate on the same maximum as that of the Scale IV non-graduate teachers. That is a defence, and, in my view, it is a mighty poor defence indeed, because it involves at least two distinct breaches in the existing arrangements and in a promise which was made on the Floor of the House.

First, that excuse means that the Government are now seeking to revise—in an indirect fashion, perhaps, but, nevertheless, to revise—a negotiated salary scale. These negotiations, as we and the Joint Under-Secretary of State know, are long and protracted. They are engaged in by representatives of the teaching profession and also representatives of the local authorities. Their result is accepted on all sides in good faith, and it is assumed that when the salary scale has been negotiated that salary will be paid to the teachers affected until a new revision of salary scales takes place at the appropriate time. That appropriate time is 1957.

Therefore, in the middle of the period which the negotiated scale was supposed to cover, the Government now step in and, by means of this circular, revise that agreed salary scale which is to operate until the end of 1957. That is breaking an agreement and it is not to the credit of any Government that it should indulge in a practice of that nature.

Further, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us some months ago that the Government were prepared to implement the principle of equal pay for men and women he did so on the understanding in all parts of the House that that new arrangement of equal pay had to be implemented on the existing salary scales. I do not think that there is any doubt about that. These Regulations, having betrayed the teachers, are now going to break the promise which the Chancellor made in good faith to the House and which was accepted by the House on that understanding.

The third ground on which we condemn the Regulations is that they could prejudice the negotiations between the teachers and the authorities on the existing scales which are bound by statute to take place in 1957. These are three very serious fractures indeed on the part of the Government. We must consider very carefully what steps we can take in future, in view of the Government's actions.

It might be said that because of the difficulty stated in Circular 310 there was no other way out. There was another way out and that way was presented to the Secretary of State for Scotland. It seemed to me an easy and simple way out. The women who are affected are those women who are paid under Scales IX, X and XI, and the representatives of the teachers put forward what seems to me, and what must seem to all fair-minded people, a simple and easy solution. They suggested that in the salary year ending next March, these women should he given an increase of 2½ per cent. on their existing salaries, and that in the salary year ending March, 1957, they should be given an increment of 5 per cent. That was a purely interim arrangement. There was nothing final about it, but it was made so that there would be no prejudice in the salary negotiations that must take place in 1957.

There is another serious objection to the Regulations. This downward revision comes at a time when the Secretary of State has told us that teachers are in short supply. In fact, the whole system of Scottish education is threatened at this moment by the shortage of teachers. Yet, at a time when we have that shortage which, as I think the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland has admitted, will be more acute in the future, we are asking more people to come into the teaching profession to enjoy the reduced salaries which the Regulations now propose to introduce. That is not a very hopeful prospect. Whereas recently one local authority in England has decided to increase its salary scales over a range of subjects, in Scotland we are proposing to reduce them. Yet we expect to get more teachers into the profession.

I have not time to go into the history of this matter, but it may be said that some of the subjects, such as physical education, woodwork, cookery dressmaking and needlework—

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)


Mr. Rankin

Yes, cooking. I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary of State gets his steak burned as a result of this reduction in the salaries of cookery teachers. These are important subjects because education has to cater for more than the academic side of life. It has also to educate the child for nonacademic life. The first things we use are our fingers. They are our source of learning. We learn by doing sooner than we start to learn by reading or by spelling. So these are the fundamental subjects in the development of the child which the Secretary of State for Scotland is proposing to penalise.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)

The hon. Gentleman knows that no male teacher does any teaching of cooking in Scotland.

Mr. Rankin

No, but he teaches woodwork and physical training, and women are engaged in cookery, dressmaking, needlework and other subjects, and some of the men will be affected under these Regulations.

We are opposing these Regulations because we think they are unfair to the teacher, they are unjust to the child, and they will be detrimental to the structure of Scottish education which, for so many years, has occupied so proud a place in the affections of the Scottish people.

10.19 p.m.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

I beg to second the Motion.

My hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin) has gone into the somewhat complicated details of this question and I do not propose to repeat his arguments. I want to refer mainly to the psychological issues which the Government appear to have ignored. Of course, we on this side of the House welcome the somewhat belated start in the implementation of equal pay. If we accept the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen opposite in the recent education debate, however, I understand that there are members of the Government party who are opposed to equal pay. Yet we assume that the Government are anxious to implement the unanimous decision of this House. We always thought, in our innocence, that equal pay meant revision of salaries in an upward direction and not a downward revision of certain salary scales.

I should like to quote, not the organ of the E.I.S., but the organ of the English N.U.T., which on 22nd July, referring to the Scottish issue, said: The Secretary of State for Scotland appears to have some strange ideas about the way equal pay in the teaching profession should operate. It goes on to refer to the machinery of negotiation. I consider there is room for improvement here, but we cannot discuss that at any great length in this debate.

The article goes on to say that the Secretary of State: … has badly bungled the operation of equal pay as it affects two categories of teachers in which there is no strict parallel between men and women. He proposes that the maximum of two of the men's scales should be reduced for new entrants and that the new scales should be the scales for both men and women. To the N.U.T.… and, I think, to the E.I.S.: … this is a travesty of equal pay. Neither in spirit nor intention has equal pay been envisaged as other than the raising of women's scales to men's. No responsible advocate of equal pay has ever suggested or contemplated a lowering, even slight, of any men's rates. That sums up the situation fairly well. The article concludes by saying: We believe that to persist in the particular proposal which has been so roundly condemned would be a blunder which would have very serious repercussions on the general teaching body, and, moreover, on the confidence of the Scottish teachers in their judgment of the Secretary of State. That is a fair summary of the position in which we find ourselves.

The history of the proposals is rather interesting. Draft Regulations were introduced last June. The gist of them was published in Circular 310. The draft Regulations were published in mid-June just when the schools were going on holiday—rather significant timing of the Circular and publication of the draft Regulations. I hope the Joint Under-Secretary has taken careful note of what I have said, because I propose to make a suggestion to him about this in a moment.

When the draft Regulations were introduced on 23rd June, it was made clear that representations about them had to be made between that date and 2nd August, which was the 40-day period. That was the very period when, because of school holidays, members of the teaching profession would be dispersed and would, therefore, have some difficulty in organising opposition. I suggest that draft Regulations should in future be issued when schools are in session so that the teachers can become organised and make their representations in an adequate fashion.

The position is set out in Circular 310 as the Secretary of State sees it, but there is no reference at all in it to the E.I.S. proposals which my hon. Friend has underlined. It merely says that the Secretary of State, after careful investigation and study, has accepted the proposals of the local authorities As we have said, the effect is a reduction of two men's scales at the maximum.

Let me say bluntly that I hold very little brief for the E.I.S. as an organisation, for it has about as much militancy as a petrified rabbit, but the Opposition are concerned about the future of education generally in Scotland, and that is why we are raising the subject tonight. My hon. Friend called attention to the basic problem in the Scottish education system, which is the shortage of teachers. No one need wonder why there is a shortage of teachers, not only in Scotland but in the United Kingdom as a whole.

No industrial worker, no trade union would tolerate the conditions of work and the extraneous duties imposed on teachers or expected of them. No industrial worker would tolerate the miserable salaries which in our view are forever lagging behind the rising cost of living. I believe that teachers' organisations are greatly to blame for that and successive Governments have been encouraged by the weakness of organized teachers. Encouraged by that, the Government hatchet men have moved in and cut salary scales as a step towards the implementation of equal pay. Next week we will have a further instalment of the same process when we debate the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, which will impose a further cut in teachers' salaries. This comes at a time when all informed opinion in the country is saying that in the highly competitive world in which we now live the basic and crying need is for educated men and women yet here we are making cuts all along the line in teachers' salaries and teachers' conditions. When will any Government realise that a teacher is at least as valuable as a doctor or dentist and infinitely more valuable than any lawyer, and pay them accordingly?

I do not propose to say any more than that. I believe that the timing of the Regulations has been a major blunder. I believe that the psychological approach of the Government has been a bigger blunder. While we obviously cannot vote against the Regulations—we have to accept or reject them in toto, which is the dilemma in which we find ourselves—let the Joint Under-Secretary not misunderstand our position. We deeply regret and deplore that in the implementation of equal pay the Joint Under-Secretary will go down in history as the man who urged implementation on the principle of a cut in the salaries of two sections of the male teachers.

10.28 p.m.

Sir Ian Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, West)

I intervene for a few minutes to refer to the position of the teachers of technical subjects, one of the grades affected by the Regulations. The Explanatory Note to the Regulations makes it clear that the proposal to reduce the new maximum scales will not affect existing teachers, but will affect those who are to enter this particular grade. However, it has the most unfortunate effect of making the teachers who are at present engaged in teaching metal work, mechanical drawing, and so forth, feel that their particular status has been reduced.

The Joint Under-Secretary knows, because I have had a great deal of correspondence with him on this matter, that I have interviewed a number of teachers affected. I feel that now is the appropriate time for a review or inquiry into the position of this particular branch of the teaching profession. There has been considerable development in technical teaching since pre-war days and in both junior and senior secondary schools the Chapter VI teachers engaged in metal work, wood work, mechanical and technical drawing have wider responsibilities and greater duties to perform than they used to have.

I do not think that the present grading or the standard training course for these teachers is satisfactory, nor that the diploma is commensurate with the duties which they now perform. It is a matter which should be considered. We are all agreed that it is very important that we should do everything possible to encourage technical developments both in our schools and in further education, because the future of the country depends upon that and upon our skill. I therefore feel that the position of this rather, what I may call, almost forgotten branch of the profession should now be looked at.

I would ask my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary to pay very serious consideration to this point, and to try to do something to have the status and salaries of these teachers considered, and, I hope, improved, before the next triennial review takes place in 1957. This is a very complicated subject indeed, which I have very great difficulty in understanding. I have had a great deal of correspondence on it, into which I will not go tonight. It is a matter which ought to be considered in the interests not only of the teachers but of the whole future of technical education in Scotland. I ask my hon. Friend to consider it very carefully, and I hope that he will meet me and discuss it in greater detail at an early date.

10.31 p.m.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Sir I. Clark Hutchison) seems to think that those engaged in the teaching of technical subjects in our schools in Scotland have been forgotten and overlooked. I do not know whether he has read the Regulations. Far from them having been overlooked and forgotten, part of the complaint of hon. Members on this side of the House is that they have been very much remembered by the Secretary of State and others, because after these Regulations come into force new entrants will be subject to a lower maximum than those already in the profession.

If he was sincere in trying to do something for these people, I should have thought that the hon. Member would be pressing his hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary and asking why, recognising that there is a review due so soon, he takes this opportunity to cut the maximum salaries for those engaged in a task so important as the hon. Gentleman has led us to believe he thinks it to be—at any rate this evening. They have not been overlooked, nor forgotten, and that is part of the case we are making this evening.

Sir I. Clark Hutchison

My point is that I think they have a case which ought to be looked at. I am with the hon. Gentleman on that.

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman may have made an unfortunate choice of words, because I took a note of them. He said that they had been forgotten and overlooked. The fact is that the Motion deals with them and draws attention to the fact that the maximum for new entrants will in future be lower, which is a very serious problem. All those whose scales are related to such maxima will equally be subject to the same reduction. It is a very serious matter indeed, and goes beyond the question of the men.

We are dealing here with the introduction of equal pay, and I should have thought that one of the first things the Secretary of State would have sought in this connection would have been the complete agreement of the professional body concerned. Well, it must be obvious to him now that he has not got that agreement, and he has certainly divided the profession in Scotland very considerably, because very few people are satisfied with what has come out of this, even the women themselves. I have had letters from many women who are concerned about the way this step has been taken, and who would have preferred that in reviewing these salaries, as he insists on doing, more importance should have been given to their claim regarding dependants' allowances, and so on; and secondly, that there should certainly have been no reduction of the maxima for particular grades.

On that second point, the position is really shocking, because what the Secretary of State is doing is reducing the maximum payable, not to teachers already in the profession, but for those who are voiceless, those who have still to come in, and who cannot therefore themselves complain about what is happening to them. This step strikes at those who are not yet in the profession, and it does not make it sure that more of them will enter the profession.

As well as involving the financial reduction these Regulations automatically reduce the status of this section of education. I have had communications from people concerned to the effect that they feel that this involves a considerable reduction in status. The differential between them and graduates and Chapter V people is considerably widened. There can be no argument but that financial considerations and status go hand in hand.

Therefore the Secretary of State is striking at one of the important parts of that school to which so much importance has been attached, the junior secondary school. There is no doubt that this is keenly felt, not only by those who will be affected later, but by those already engaged in that branch of the profession. I have had many complaints that they are being placed on a lower scale. In- evitably the subjects taught will drop in educational prestige.

I am disappointed that the Secretary of State turned down the pro tern suggestions made by the Educational Institute of Scotland, which would have gone part of the way towards equal pay, and at the same time withheld any reconsideration of scales until the right and expected time 1957. We need teachers in all these branches, and teachers should be the propagandists for their own profession, but they have no enthusiasm for encouraging others to enter it. It is indeed a serious blow.

It is the firm conviction of many people that in the proposals to establish equal pay it is wholly wrong to lower the salary rate for certain men and then apply that reduced scale as the maximum for all the other Chapter VI teachers. When one of my hon. Friends mentioned teachers of domestic science the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland shook his head. Is not it true that the scale for women domestic science teachers is related to the scales we are discussing, and so they are directly affected?

Mr. Henderson Stewart indicated assent.

Mr. Ross

I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman agrees with me now. The position concerning domestic science teachers in Ayrshire is chronic.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The Regulations increase the pay of women domestic science teachers.

Mr. Ross

Yes, but if the proposal had been related to the old maximum it would have been so much better. It is being related to a maximum which is reduced. Of course the rates for all women teachers are being increased. We realise that, but in view of the reduction in the maximum for the Chapter VI teachers, to which the others were related, the amount they would have received themselves is automatically reduced. There is a cut in both.

The position is that it is difficult enough to get people to enter this branch of the service. There is a long period of training involved, and it is costly. As I said, it plays an important part in the junior secondary schools, not only as vocational training, but as a realistic approach to home-making and citizenship. I have no doubt that the Regulations will have an effect on recruitment. The Government have done the worst possible thing.

We had hoped to get expressions of opinion from hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have had outspoken comments from the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn). He really should be opposing the Regulations tonight on the fundamental issue of the introduction of equal pay, because he is flatly opposed to equal pay and the bringing of women up to the standard of men in the teaching profession. The same applies to the hon. Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland) and the hon. Member for Scotstoun (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison). Where are they? What are they going to do? Are they going to force a Division on this matter tonight? I hope they are not going to remain silent but that they will follow their expressed convictions into the Lobby tonight.

There are certain benefits for many of the women in the profession, but we wish that the Secretary of State for Scotland had been much more statesmanlike in his approach to this matter, that he had considered the whole of the teaching profession, and had tried to take the profession with him in securing agreed scales.

10.41 p.m.

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

When these Regulations were introduced I received a large amount of correspondence violently protesting against the changes which were made in respect of Chapter VI teachers. I want, therefore, not to follow all the arguments which have been made by my hon. Friends but to ask one or two questions.

First, I want to know why this reduction is being made at this time. We have had no really satisfactory answer—at least, not in the correspondence which I have had with the Joint Under-Secretary of State. Is it that these subjects are considered to be unimportant? I should have thought that some of these subjects were important. They seem to me to be of a character that develop the faculties which should be developed if we are to survive in the modern world. In fact, our survival almost depends upon the development of the ability to use one's hands skilfully and carefully, as well as upon the acquisition and use of technical knowledge. In terms of the importance of the acquisition of skill alone, it seems to me that it is a very retrograde step, at this moment in the fortunes of this country, to commence to reduce the status of these teachers.

The argument that the women teachers are not affected is not very sound if, in introducing equal pay, we reduce the pay of the men teachers, then the women teachers are getting equal pay at a lower level. That seems to me to be a most mean and niggardly attitude for the Government to adopt.

The second question that I want to ask is this. If the Government do not think that these subjects are unimportant, is it that the Government are dissatisfied with the teachers who have been carrying out this work during the past years? I know a number of these men—in fact, I am very closely acquainted with some of the men who have been engaged in this particular type of teaching—and I cannot think that they are unsatisfactory. These people have been doing a very fine job of work. That being so, why set about reducing their status? This surely is a very poor reward if, as the hon. Gentleman indicates, he is very satisfied with what they are doing. This is the first time that I have heard of a Government expressing satisfaction by lowering the status and the future emoluments of the profession with which they are satisfied.

This proposal is not justified at all. To use the excuse of bringing women's salaries to the level of men's salaries as an opportunity for reducing the wages and status of men in a certain section is not playing the game. I am surprised that the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) has not spoken in the debate. He made a great speech during the education debate when he spoke about the "three S's". He had a great deal to say about what the teachers wanted—salary, status and another requirement which I forget for the moment. The hon. Gentleman ought to be protesting against this proposal. These Regulations attack precisely those things which the hon. Gentleman thought were so important when he spoke in the education debate. If he really believes what he said in that debate, he ought to join hon. Members on this side of the House in protesting against these Regulations.

I will conclude now because I know that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is anxious to explain the matter. I do not think that he will be able to explain it satisfactorily, because I still think that this attitude is a most mean and niggardly one for the Government to adopt. It is thoroughly unjustified, particularly as the cost of living is going up month by month, and it is bound to cause an enormous amount of dissatisfaction in the teaching profession.

10.45 p.m.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

It has been made perfectly clear by hon. Members on this side of the House how strongly they feel about the second provision in these Regulations. We have heard one lone voice from the benches opposite. The hon. Member made some representation, but he made it very mildly indeed.

We have said quite clearly that we welcome this beginning of the implementation of equal pay. I wish that some hon. Members opposite had got up and said the same thing. Of course, if they had, they would have found themselves in a very difficult position after the speeches which they made in the education debate a few weeks ago.

The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn) has been mentioned, but I think that the fiercest attack against equal pay came from the hon. Member for Scotstoun (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison). It is evident that the few hon. Members opposite who are present will stay glued to their seats because they have nothing good to say about the first provision in the Regulations and are afraid to say very much about the second provision.

It has been said by hon. Members on this side of the House that the second provision will have detrimental effects in a number of ways. It will not only lower the status of those entering the profession to teach technical subjects, such as educational handwork, commerce, music and physical education, but also that of those already in the profession. I go further and say that not only will the status of that category of teachers be lowered by these Regulations, but that the status of all teachers, particularly men teachers.

What, in effect, does this provision do? I have compared the scales very carefully. Scale Ma is to take the place of Scale III for those who enter a training college after January, 1956. My hon. Friend said that people in that category would lose about £1 a week. I have worked it out and find that, even before they reach their maximum salary, each new entrant will have lost £275. After teaching for another twenty years—and many of them will teach for much longer—each of those new entrants will have lost an additional £1,000. That seems to me to be very serious indeed.

We have been told, time and time again, how difficult it is to attract people into the teaching profession in these days of full employment and that men in particular prefer to take the attractive jobs available outside the profession. If we compare the increases made in teachers' salaries with the rise in the cost of living, we find that they have not kept in line with rising costs. It is because of this great difference in salary and because of the great financial loss over their teaching years that we oppose the Part II provisions of these Regulations.

Under the heading "IVa," which is to take the place of "IV," new entrants will have lost, by the time they reach their maximum, £420, and in twenty years' time they will have lost an additional £300. I have made some inquiries and find that at present there are only about 20 such teachers in the schools. It seems to me that the Secretary of State has gone out of his way to create difficulties for himself and to sow dissension among teachers.

It is not only that the new entrants will be paid less and that their status will be lowered. I taught in schools where there were graduate women teachers on one scale of salary and non-graduate women teachers on another scale, and there was always dissension about the difference between these scales. This dissension will grow rather than lessen as these numbers increase, and that will be detrimental to the best interests of education in Scotland.

A most important point, made by my hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin) and touched on by other of my hon. Friends, is that the next review is to be made in 1957. The review takes a considerable time, for most detailed attention is given to every aspect of salaries. It seems to me that that would have been the time to consider whether any changes ought to be made. It has been very foolish of the Government, to put it at its lowest, to use these Regulations, which are to begin the implementation of equal pay, to introduce the second provisions, which will do great damage to the teaching profession.

I will make a suggestion to the Joint Under-Secretary of State. When I was Joint Under-Secretary of State I had something to do with the 1951 Regulations. I found that it was of the greatest importance to listen to the points which were put forward to me by the National Joint Council, and because of strong arguments which were made to me I ultimately changed certain Regulations to suit them. I think the Joint Under-Secretary would have been wise to have done that on this occasion.

I think that the present method of deciding what the salaries of teachers are to be is a very bad method indeed. I think that it is bad that the question of teachers' salaries should be brought, willy nilly, into the political arena. That happens almost every time we have Regulations. During my experience—and I use this as an example—I suggested to the officials in the Department of Education that if I had anything to do with further Regulations I should urge that there should be a change in the procedure. The Joint Under-Secretary knows that the English Minister is in a position different from that of the Secretary of State for Scotland. He gets the recommendations from the Burnham Committee and he can either accept or reject those recommendations—but he cannot amend them. The Secretary of State can amend them. I think it would be an improvement for the Secretary of State to be in the same position as the English Minister.

I do not think that goes far enough, however. Salaries of those employed in the National Health Service are decided by the Whitley Council procedure. The two sides get together and if agreement cannot be reached the matter goes to arbitration. These salaries are never brought up as a subject for debate on the Floor of the House. I suggest that the Joint Under-Secretary of State should have it considered quickly whether it would not be better for the salaries of teachers in Scotland to be on the same footing in this respect as the salaries of those employed in the Health Service. In considering that point the Joint Under-Secretary would require to have discussions with employers and employees. If the hon. Gentleman could reach agreement with both sides in this matter we should be doing much to help to raise the status of teachers in Scotland, and we should certainly be taking the question of their salaries out of the political arena.

If the Joint Under-Secretary is thinking first of what is best for education in Scotland, he will persuade the Secretary of State, even at this late stage, not to carry out the provisions which apply to technical teachers. I ask the hon. Gentleman to do that also for another reason, which has been touched upon by my hon. Friends. We as a nation are in a very difficult position. In spite of Tory claims to prosperity, the nation is in a serious position compared with many others in the world. We must provide the very best for our schoolchildren, to ensure that they in turn provide the very best for the nation.

This applies particularly to technical matters. The teachers who are to have their salaries reduced must have a fairly long training before they become teachers. They are doing very important work, particularly those who do educational handwork. These teachers develop in children skills of the greatest importance to us if we are to secure the best technicians and craftsmen, and the Government must realise that we need the best people if we are to compete successfully in world markets.

Representations on this matter have come from many sources, and not merely from men teachers. These Regulations have caused a split in teaching organisations in Scotland. That is very bad, because when an organisation is split one does not secure the harmony among teachers which is necessary if we want to get the best out of the profession. I can understand the feeling that exists among some of the men. They feel that if technical teachers have been attacked this time in order to fix the rate for the job, they do not know when the turn of the graduate and the Chapter V man will come. The Scottish Schoolmasters' Association has taken a completely wrong line in this matter by breaking away from the Educational Institute of Scotland. They should realise, as workers—and I hope that they call themselves workers—that workers never get anywhere if they are in divided organisations. If they are really perturbed about these things they are going the very worst way about bringing about any benefits or any improvements. I do urge the Joint Under Secretary, because of the case which has been made—I do not think it has been exaggerated—to consider the points which I have made, and also to consider some new method of coming to decisions on teachers' salaries.

11.0 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. J. Henderson Stewart)

I have been very much impressed by what the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) has said. She speaks, of course, with very great authority on these matters. I am not, unfortunately, able to accede to her suggestion that we should withdraw these Regulations, for reasons which I shall explain.

When the hon. Lady asks that we should review the system of arriving at teachers' salaries, that suggestion—coming from her—merits earnest examination and of course that will be given; we shall examine what she has said. She will, of course, know that the present system, the National Joint Council, is based on the 1946 Act, introduced by Mr. Tom Johnston, has been operated without amendment since then, and, to my certain knowledge, without any criticism from the teachers' organisation the E.I.S. I am not aware of any criticism by that body. Therefore, when the hon. Lady pleads for a change she will realise that we have to consult with the teachers' main body—

Miss Herbison

I said so.

Mr. Stewart

I know that—and I do not anticipate that it would be particularly favourable to a change. Nevertheless we shall examine what the hon. Lady has said very carefully and without delay, although I do not hold out a great deal of hope in view of the circumstances I have described.

It is very difficult to know how to answer this debate. It has been most useful, I think. I welcome it because there has been a great deal of controversy about these Regulations and there has been a great deal of misunderstanding. The most wild figures have been thrown about in the columns of the Press, some of which I shall perhaps be able to correct. Therefore, it is all to the good that we should have this public debate about the Regulations and that I should be able to answer the question put so bluntly and properly by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis)— "What is the purpose of this? Why have you done it? What is the reason?" It is right that the hon. Member should ask that, and that one should have to reply.

This matter, as the House knows, started with the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 25th January, to which the hon. Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin) referred, to the effect that equal pay was to be gradually introduced in the non-industrial Civil Service. On 1st February, a few days later, my right hon. Friend drew the attention of the National Joint Council on Scotland to the Chancellor's statement and invited the Council to consider the question of equal pay for teachers.

Mr. Rankin

Could the hon. Gentleman say if there was a single hon. Member in the House of Commons on that day who imagined that that statement was not made on the understanding that equal pay for men and women would be introduced on the basis of the existing scales, and not on reduced scales?

Mr. Stewart

I do not know what the views of hon. Members were, but if the hon. Member will be so kind as to look at the terms of the Chancellor's statement, he will see the answer to his question. I invite him to look at it.

Mr. Ross

Quote it.

Mr. Stewart

If I am asked to do so, of course I will. What the hon. Member is suggesting to the House is that there was nothing in the statement to suggest that there might be adjustments—

Mr. Rankin

Or reductions.

Mr. Stewart

Very well. I will read the statement—not all of it, because it was a long statement. My right hon. Friend said: For certain special grades … a compromise is proposed by which the new scales eventually to be applied to both sexes would be higher than the present women's scales but somewhat lower than the scales at present in force for the relatively small number of men serving in these grades."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th January, 1955; Vol. 536, c. 31–2.] I am not making much of this, but I am saying that the kind of interpretation put upon the promise—as the hon. Member put it—of the Chancellor was not strictly accurate. I do not want to make too much of it.

Mr. Hamilton

The hon. Gentleman is surely not suggesting that any section of opinion in the country which supported equal pay thought for one moment that the implementation of equal pay would mean reduced salaries for even a tiny minority?

Mr. Stewart

I quite believe the hon. Gentleman took that view, and I am not pressing this point but only pointing out that that statement was made publicly by the Chancellor, and from that moment, therefore, it was impossible for persons not to realise that there might, in implementing this very difficult matter, have to be temporary adjustments. I will show the House exactly what I meant by that.

It was, of course, open to the National Joint Council to make what recommendations it thought fit on this matter of equal pay. It might have said that the work of women teachers was not equal to that of men, but it did not do that. It might have recommended that it was not desirable that they should be brought up to the same scale but the Council did not do that. Both sides of the Council agreed that the basic scales for women teachers should be assimilated to those of men, by annual instalments over a period of seven years. There is no argument on that.

The trouble arises because the two sides of the National Joint Council failed to agree on two matters that were associated, as it were, with the main principle. Those two matters concerned family allowances and male non-graduate technical teachers. Perhaps I should say what this implementation of equal pay in Scotland will cost. When equal pay is in full operation the total additional annual cost of teachers' salaries in Scotland, on the basis of the present men's scales, will be £2.6 million. The cost of equay pay in Scotland when fully implemented will be about £600,000 a year more than the eleven-eightieths of the corresponding cost in England. That is largely because Scotland has a higher proportion of women teachers, since one man's group—the non-graduate primary male teacher—is virtually non-existent in Scotland.

Mr. Willis

It would be equally interesting to know what it would have cost not to have reduced the Chapter VI scale.

Mr. Stewart

So these were the two matters on which the Council found themselves in disagreement, and they decided that the best way to deal with it was not to try to arrive at a conclusion, but to put to the Secretary of State these two divergent views.

In the case of family allowances the teachers wanted to associate equal pay with the payment of family allowances, and the employers objected. In the case of non-graduate male teachers, the employers wanted to face the issue right away. The E.I.S., as the hon. Member has shown, proposed a temporary expedient of a 2½ per cent. increase. I will say a word on each of those matters, because they are very important.

The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn) has been greatly concerned about the first—the linking of equal pay with some kind of family allowances. That is not included in the Regulations, and I should like to say why we did not include it, and why we turned it down. The introduction of allowances as part of the salaries structure would, I suggest, in effect be a breach of the principle of equal pay, since family allowances would reintroduce differences in salary, and the differences would be based, not on the merit of one teacher as against the other, or on what one teacher did compared with the other, nor would they even be based on sex. They would be based entirely on the number of dependants the teacher, male or female, had. And, of course, that situation would be open to the same objection as has been made to differential salaries for men and women namely, that in times of under-employment employers would tend, or even be encouraged, to withhold employment from those to whom the higher level of remuneration had been given. That is a real danger which we had to consider.

In any case I suggest to the House that it is at least doubtful whether, as a principle, it is the function of the employers, whoever the employers be, to adjust wages to meet family and social responsibilities of particular employees, and it would be wrong to use public funds to introduce the provision of family and dependants' allowances for one occupational group only. The House will remember that such allowances are in any event made now, directly or indirectly, through the social services by children's allowances and by Income Tax concessions, and so on.

It is worth remembering, too, that the introduction of equal pay in the Civil Service and for teachers in England and Wales was not, and is not, accompanied by any special provision for family and dependants' allowances, and I should add, for the information of the House, that teachers in England and Wales have definitely taken the view that equal pay and family allowances are two entirely different, independent things.

Mr. Rankin

The hon. Gentleman is seeking to escape on arguments which we have never advanced from this side of the House.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I do not think family allowances arise on this Motion.

Mr. Stewart

This aspect arises because it was one of the two matters upon which the members of the National Joint Council were unable to reach agreement, but I do not want to trespass against the rules of order, and I want to deal with the main issue raised by the Opposition about the non-graduate men.

On that aspect of the matter, as I have said, two alternative proposals were proposed. The E.I.S. proposed that there should not be any change in the salary scales now but—recognising that something must be done to bring the pay of women somewhere near that of the men—that there should be a temporary increase of 2½ per cent. The employers took the view that we must grasp this nettle now.

May I first let the House know something about the numbers of teachers involved in this matter? We are talking here about what are called in technical jargon Chapter VI Teachers of Technical Subjects, and we are talking about teachers, not in further education, but in the schools. There are 5,806 such teachers in Scottish schools now, male and female, 2,872 of whom are women and about the same number, 2,934, men. Of that 2,934 about 1,000 are graduates or graduate equivalents and are therefore not affected by these new Regulations; so that the number we are concerned with here is 1,900 men non-graduate technical teachers.

I want to tell the House how the total of 2,934 men technical teachers are distributed among the various subjects. There are 661 art teachers, all graduates or the equivalent. There are 36 teachers of applied science and technology, and most of them are graduates or the equivalent. There are 58 who teach agricultural and rural subjects. There are 297 who teach music, 558 who give physical education, 125 who teach commercial subjects, and 1,199 who teach educational handwork.

When talking about technical teachers people are really thinking not about teachers of art, certainly not teachers of gymnastics, but of the men who teach boys and girls in the schools handwork, craft work, woodwork and so on. I hope that the House will realise that when talking about these teachers we are talking about approximately 1,200 persons. It is that figure—

Mr. Willis

I hope the hon. Gentleman is not trying to justify this action by saying that the number involved is small.

Mr. Stewart

Not at all. I am stating the figures involved.

The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North told us some interesting history. Before 1951, non-graduate and graduate teachers went to the same salary maximum, one for men and one for women. In April, 1951, because of the need to encourage graduation, differential maxima were recommended by the Council. The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North accepted that, and introduced legislation at that time which provided differential scales for graduate and non-graduate women; but she did not introduce at that time any similar differentials for men.

Therefore there arose an anomaly, and since I have been at the Scottish Office I have not heard the end of it. Women have all the time been saying, "You put our graduate scales higher than our non-graduate scales, but you did not do so for men. You let graduates and non-graduates reach the same maximum. It is not fair."

In the 1954 triennial review we suggested getting rid of this anomaly by giving lower increases to non-graduate men than to graduate men. That seemed an easy way to correct an obvious anomaly; but it was not popular. We were under great pressure, and, always trying to be agreeable, we withdrew the proposal. I think that was a pity, and many teachers took the same view.

The introduction of the question of equal pay threw this anomaly into sharper relief. That is the problem we have to face. There was only one of two things which could be done whatever Government was in power, or whatever Joint Council examined it. One thing was that all men and women, graduate and non-graduate, must rise to the men's graduate maximum. That would be equal pay. But that would destroy all incentive to graduation, which was the point of the action taken in 1951, and rightly taken. The alternative was to establish new, and lower, men's non-graduate scales to which the women's non-graduate scales would be assimilated. Whether we liked it or not, no other opening was possible to us, apart from the temporary expedient, to which I have referred.

Miss Herbison

The hon. Gentleman is trying to tie what the Government have done to what was done in 1951, and says there is no other way out. Non-graduate men with no degrees go up to the graduate level, and this could have been done the same way without touching their levels at all.

Mr. Stewart

I am not sure that I follow the hon. Lady. Either she wants non-graduate men and graduate men to go to the same maximum or she does not. She demonstrated clearly in 1951 that she does not agree with that principle; she thinks there should be different maxima. So do I. That is why these Regulations are now being introduced.

Miss Herbison

The hon. Gentleman means for the women.

Mr. Stewart

I mean for both.

We must aim—and I hope that the House will accept this principle—at implementing the idea that graduates should be paid on a higher scale than non-graduates—both men and women. I stand solidly upon that principle. The employers recommended that course—that is to say, establishing new and lower men's non-graduate scales, to which the women's non-graduates could be assimilated and therefore reach equality of pay. The employers recommended the latter course, with the proviso, which the House knows about, that existing men non-graduate technical teachers should continue to be paid their existing scales. The teachers asked, as a purely interim measure, that the men's scales should be left untouched and that the women non-graduates should receive an increase of 2½ per cent. We all know that.

Now, why did we take the view of the employers rather than of the teachers in this matter? First, it was necessary to eliminate the anomaly in the scales, otherwise, if we had not done that, equal pay would not have been introduced. There is no reply to that; that is a statement of absolute fact. We wanted equal pay introduced. The teachers' proposal merely postponed consideration of the anomaly. Indeed, the teachers' proposal—and I would invite the hon. Lady to consider this—would have aggravated the difficulty, because non-graduate women might have assumed that there was at least a possibility of their rising to the graduate maximum. It would have been a pity if they had got that view in their minds.

It seemed to us essential to preserve the differential between the maxima for non-graduate and graduate women, otherwise the 1951 women's relativities—now I am becoming a little technical—especially introduced by the hon. Lady to encourage graduate recruitment, would have been destroyed. I should add that the teachers' side has never at any time suggested to us that these relativities should be destroyed, and I think they should be maintained.

If the anomaly was to be eliminated and the women's relativities preserved, new scales had to be introduced for non-graduate men. There was no alternative to embodying the same relativities between the men's non-graduate scales and graduate scales as those between the women's non-graduate scales and graduate scales. I hope that the House follows that. This meant that non-graduate men would no longer rise to the graduate maximum, and in our view that is a proper principle, as graduates ought to be rewarded.

I will give just a few figures of men's graduate scales, the former men's technical non-graduate scales and the new scales. For graduate men, the former scale was £520 to £810; the new scale is the same. For non-graduate men, Chapter VI—this is the bulk of them—previously the scale was £480 to £810; under the new Regulations it will be £495 —an increase at the beginning of £15—rising to £760. For non-graduate men, Article 47 BB—the 20 men the hon. Lady was speaking of, who are further education teachers, and are only incidental in schools—the previous salary was £470 to £730; it will now be £465 to £715.

There have been a number of criticisms, one being that this was not the right time to alter the scales, in the middle of a triennium. I quite see that argument, but I do ask the House to consider that had we taken the teachers' suggestion, that would have been another way of sliding out of the difficulty and postponing the trouble. Yet sooner or later we had to face this position. We should have had to face up to this anomaly in two years' time. I think that it was honest and straightforward to face it now.

It is true that negotiated scales have been lowered, but that was the only solution. Scales have not been lowered for non-graduate men in post and now in training. It was said that it was wrong to lower scales when the cost of living is going up. Hon. Members opposite know quite well that that is confusing matters. The proper time and place to consider the effect of the rising cost of living is at the time of the next triennium, and I have no doubt that it will be taken into account then. I should be very surprised if increases are not proposed for these technical non-graduate men and others.

I have heard it said elsewhere, though not in the House tonight, that the lowering of scales lends substance to the fear of men teachers that, under equal pay, men's scales will be assimilated with women's rather than vice versa. I give an absolutely categorical assurance about this. The new scales for non-graduate men were introduced solely because of the anomaly in the salary structure, and the Government have absolutely no intention of assimilating men's scales with those for women. Similarly, I would give the assurance that the lowering of the men's scales at the maximum was not a money-saving effort. There will in fact be no saving whatever during the period of the Regulations.

The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North said that this action might affect recruiting because it lowered the status. I should be very sorry if anything like that were to happen. The House might like to know what has been happening about recruitment for these technical non-graduate posts. The supply of men teachers of physical education is quite good. The supply of teachers of commercial subjects, including shorthand and typewriting, is fair. The recruitment of teachers of music has been bad but is improving, while the supply of teachers of educational handiwork is quite good.

It is not for me to say that all is well and that the prospect is bright, but it would be wrong to assume that we are not getting a fair recruitment for these posts.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

Is not it the case that emergency training for music teachers is now being terminated, and that the prospect there is likely to be worse?

Mr. Stewart

As far as we can see the prospects are not too bad.

We were asked "Are you running down these technical teachers?" Of course we are not. I recognise that they do very valuable work, but it would be wrong and unrealistic to think of them as directly the trainers of technologists of the future. That is not what they are there for. These are men teaching children, mainly in junior secondary schools, in handiwork. They are not vocational teachers. They are not teachers of boys apprenticed to painters or carpenters. They teach those with a general interest in woodwork and metalwork. Therefore, it would not be sensible to say that this can have any real effect upon the development of technology and the higher techniques.

For these reasons, I beg the House to believe that we have done wisely in this matter. I hope that the hon. Lady and her hon. Friends may feel disposed to withdraw the Motion.

11.29 p.m.

Miss Herbison

I am very sorry that we have to withdraw the Motion, and that I have not been able to—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. The Motion cannot be withdrawn. The hon. Member who moved it is not here.

Miss Herbison

I was about to say that I am sorry that I cannot follow the Joint Under-Secretary. In order to demonstrate the difficulty where there is a non-graduate woman teacher of general subjects, and the non-graduate teacher of technical subjects—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady cannot make a second speech.

It being half-past Eleven o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [13th June].

Question negatived.