Will teachers’ salaries be one of the themes of the presidential election campaign? Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and socialist candidate, relaunched the debate by proposing to double the remuneration of teachers during his five-year term, “or, to begin with, aligning at least the salary of new teachers on the median salary of holders of a bac +5”. Guislaine David, spokesperson for the SNUipp-FSU teachers’ union, reacts to this proposal.
How did you receive Anne Hidalgo’s proposal?
It has the merit of bringing the issue of teachers’ salaries back to the forefront. They are paid less than their European counterparts, we are far behind. Behind this question of teachers’ salaries, it is above all the question of the attractiveness of the profession. And we are currently having difficulty recruiting. Young people no longer go into teaching professions because, at the same level of qualification, the salary is really very different from other sectors. When you have a Master 2 and you start your career at € 1,400, it shows that you are really lagging behind.
Do you think this proposal is feasible?
Anne Hidalgo has not yet quantified it, she aims for the entire five-year term. What is important is to have a multi-year programming plan that allows the increase in wages to be enshrined in law. No increases over one year and the year after, there is nothing. Jean-Michel Blanquer has started to revalue salaries over the past two years, it is below what the colleagues expect, but we have no programming. We need to have a law spanning several years to have any prospects. Hidalgo is proposing to double teachers’ salaries, but that’s not how it should be seen. Teachers’ salaries have to be increased, and increased everywhere, but at different levels: we are not going to double the salary of a teacher at the end of his career, we would be completely outside the scales. When we see that after 15 years of seniority, a French teacher receives a salary 23% lower than the average of other European countries, we have to ask ourselves questions.
How do your colleagues in the field react?
It’s good to talk about it. That politicians care about it is fine. Afterwards, we also know that this is a period when we will be offered a lot of things. In the field, the issue of salaries is important, but there is also that of the lack of personnel and working conditions. They are waiting to see how this revaluation could be integrated, will it be by the thawing of the index point?
The working conditions and the attractiveness of the profession are linked to the salary, but the salary is not everything
Are you worried about an announcement effect?
We know that we will have announcement effects. Anne Hidalgo’s program is not yet complete, she said she would quantify this increase (by the end of the year, Editor’s note). We don’t ask for better. But aligning wages with other European countries, especially those in the leading peloton like Germany, is not a bad idea, we have to get closer. Everyone says it and we can’t do it. Jean-Michel Blanquer said he wanted to make French teachers the best paid in Europe at the end of the quinquennium. We are still lagging behind and we will always be there.
Isn’t it disappointing that this subject comes up regularly but that it does not translate into facts?
This is the feeling of teachers: “They will tell us again that we are going to be upgraded but nothing will happen”. Michel Barnier (candidate of the right and the center, Editor’s note) has also made proposals: to increase teachers’ salaries, he wants to go and beat other officials. We are attached to the public service, it is not a question of upgrading only teachers, other functions must be as well. In our schools, there are also the AESH (Accompanying students with disabilities, Editor’s note) who are very poorly paid and yet do a job essential to the life of the class.
We are talking about salaries, but is this really the main issue for National Education in the years to come?
This is one of the challenges, it is not the only one. The working conditions and the attractiveness of the profession are linked to the salary, but the salary is not everything. The health crisis has shown this: there is a lack of substitutes in the classes, there is no longer any specialized staff to deal with the great difficulty at school, there is no longer any continuing training; therefore, we can no longer learn about the challenges of the school and the difficulties that we encounter, there are too many students per class … Other means must be implemented to promote attractiveness of career.