March 23, 2023
Teachers accept pay offer from Welsh Government ending strike action
Teachers in Wales have called off any further strike action after accepting the latest pay offer from the Welsh Government. The dispute, rumbling since the autumn, saw teachers strike on two days across Wales closing hundreds of schools. The National Education Union said 73% of its teacher members in Wales who responded to it latest consultation voted to accept the pay offer put forward by Education Minister Jeremy Miles to end the dispute. He made the offer after the second strike on March 2 with members agreeing to suspend further action planned while they considered it. The offer will see an additional payment to teachers of 3% for this academic year (2022/23), made up of 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% one-off unconsolidated lump-sum. The offer also included an increased pay rise of 5% paid from September 2023. The minister pledged that it will all be fully funded by the Welsh Government and not have to come from school budgets. Read more: Hundreds of teachers and school staff told to re-apply for their jobs in Pontypridd schools shake up Striking teachers on the picket line at Cardiff High on February 1 (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne) No offer has been made to teaching assistants however. The NEU warned that its national executive will be “considering next steps in our support staff pay campaign”. Speaking about the members’ decision to accept the offer NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Members in Wales have made a clear decision to accept the pay offer, put forward by the Minister in a letter dated 9 March. “We would like to thank the Welsh Government for the constructive way in which they have conducted negotiations with the union, and we look forward to a productive working relationship to ensure that the rest of the deal, focused on workload, continues to make good progress. “Whilst this doesn’t meet our ambitions for pay restitution every part of this offer is due to our members’ efforts - and we will continue campaigning for the governments in Cardiff and Westminster to invest properly in this generation of children and the staff who work with them.” David Evans, Wales Secretary for the National Education Union Cymru, said: “It is clear that a large majority of our teacher members here in Wales want to accept the deal from the minister. They were provided with full information about the offer and have given us a definitive steer. “This has been a difficult time for everyone in education. Our members do not take decisions to go on strike lightly, but they had to make a stand given the continuing impact of austerity, cost of living and spiralling inflation. We would like to thank all the parents who supported teachers and support staff in the action taken.” He added: “We remain disappointed that the minister made no offer to teaching assistants, but we know that we have raised the profile of the critical issues which affect everyone in education. Our national executive will be considering next steps in our support staff pay campaign.” NEU members turned down an initial 5% offer recommended by the Independent Pay Review Body for Wales and accepted by the Welsh Government “an insult”. They also turned down a second offer of an additional 1.5% lump sum and extra 1.5% pay rise as “not good enough”. They have accepted a third offer adding an increased pay rise of 5% paid from September 2023 with the promise that will be fully funded by the Welsh Government. But headteachers have voiced concerns that with school budgets being cut money is being given in one hand but taken in another. There are ongoing concerns about years of underfunding for schools leading to larger class sizes and use of unqualified staff. Teachers voice their anger at pay erosion during this terms strikes (Image: WalesOnline) The NEU estimates teachers’ pay had been eroded by as much as 20% in the last decade. Headteachers in the NAHT Cymru have been working to rule in protest over pay and working conditions. The full holding offer from Welsh Government: 5% already awarded (fully-funded) An extra 1.5% fully consolidated 1.5% one-off cash payment This makes a total consolidated increase of 6.5% and an in-year boost for the current year of 8% The money would be paid in April and backdated to September provided NEU Cymru pauses next week’s industrial action For the next academic year 2023-24 a new 5% offer compared to the original 3.5% offer Education Minister Jeremy Miles said: “I am pleased that NEU members have voted to accept the enhanced pay offer. This is good news for pupils, parents and teachers. “I want to thank unions and local authorities for engaging in a positive way in the negotiations. The result today will give learners and parents piece of mind and together we can focus on teaching and learning. I am also looking forward to working with our partners on the workload-related issues which we have identified together.” To get our free daily briefing on the biggest issues affection the nation, Wales Matters, click here . Read next: Teachers and school staff told to re-apply for their jobs in Pontypridd schools shake up 'Terrifying, frightening and extremely stressful': Headteachers in Wales on how it feels having their schools inspected Headteachers fear schools will have to pick up bill for pay rise offered in Wales Wales faces massive shortage of specialist physics and chemistry teachers The figure that shows why teachers went on strike in Wales
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