Posted: Fri 10th Mar 2023

NEU calls off strike action in Wales off while new pay offer is considered

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 10th, 2023

NEU strike action in Wales has been called off while a new pay offer is considered. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In a statement this evening the National Education Union (NEU) said that following discussions with the Welsh Government, a new, revised and fully-funded pay offer will be put to teacher members. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As a result, the strike days scheduled in Wales on 15 March and 16 March have been called off. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In England, those strike days remain in place. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Since 19 January there have been constructive talks between the National Education Union and the Welsh Government in seeking, jointly, to secure a resolution to the pay dispute. A previous offer, which prompted the postponement of a strike on 14 February, was rejected. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The revised offer includes: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • An additional 3% pay award for 2022/23 – 1.5% consolidated and 1.5% non-consolidated.
  • A recommendation that the 2023/24 pay award effective 1 September 2023 be increased to 5%. This to be fully funded.
  • A no detriment principle so that should there be a higher pay settlement in England, Wales would match that pay award.

Taken over two years for teachers on all spine points, the pay offer is worth 11.8% consolidated plus the 1.5% non-consolidated payment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

All eligible teacher members in Wales will be consulted via electronic ballot. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Talks will continue with Welsh Government on a range of other issues important to NEU members, such as school funding, and workload including the pressures generated by Estyn and the accountability requirements of Consortia. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said: “We thank the Welsh Government for the constructive manner in which they have pursued a solution to the current dispute over pay. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is vital that we do all we can, together, to combat the recruitment and retention crisis and ensure that more people join the profession and stay in the profession. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Welsh Government recognises this and has also understood the importance of the pay offer being fully funded. In addition, they have committed to working with us on tackling workload. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This is in stark contrast to the behaviour of Gillian Keegan, who is preventing talks in England. This week she refused even to talks at Acas. The NEU has said time and again we will enter negotiations. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The talks can go ahead at any time – it is Government who are declining and setting the preconditions, not the NEU. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“If it is true that the Education Secretary has the blessing of Government to negotiate on pay for this year and next, then there is nothing preventing talks other than her own intransigence. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We have demonstrated in Wales that we are more than willing to enter serious negotiations and suspend strike action while we consult our members on an offer.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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