School leaders and head teachers to continue industrial action in Wales
School leaders in Wales have thrown their weight behind continuing industrial action, including potential strikes, as the dispute over pay, workload, and funding intensifies.
Members of NAHT Cymru, a union representing school leaders, have been involved in action short of a strike since February. In March, they voted to reject an offer from the Welsh government covering the academic years of 2022/23 and 2023/24.
A recent reballot of union members, launched on June 5, was conducted to renew the mandate for industrial action, which was set to expire in July.
The ballot results showed an overwhelming backing for the continuation of the industrial action, with 95% supporting action short of a strike and 74% prepared to strike if deemed necessary.
Despite the government having already awarded a 3% pay uplift for the current academic year, concerns among NAHT members about full funding of this uplift have been validated in many areas.
Laura Doel, director of NAHT Cymru, expressed the firm resolve of members to fight over pay, funding, and workload. She mentioned that leaders’ and teachers’ pay has deteriorated by 24% in the last 10 years. Furthermore, she addressed the ongoing recruitment and retention issues plaguing schools, worsened by pay and funding concerns.
Paul Whiteman, NAHT’s general secretary, highlighted the additional pressures faced by school leaders. From cutting school budgets to considering redundancies, to navigating an unsustainable workload, all these issues are contributing to a growing staff recruitment and retention crisis. He urged the Welsh government and local employers to heed this fresh mandate and come up with an acceptable offer.
The action short of a strike will see union members, including headteachers, deputy headteachers, assistant headteachers, and middle leaders, refuse to engage in various activities.
These range from not providing information regarding staff participation in industrial action, abstaining from facilitating cover for those taking part, refusing unsolicited school visits, to not attending meetings after 5 pm.
The Welsh government’s previous offer consisted of a 3% pay rise for the academic year 2022/23, composed of a 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump-sum.
It also proposed a further 5% pay rise from September 2023, alongside an agreement on workload. However, this offer was rejected by NAHT Cymru members. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com