School leaders union suspends new pay offer ballot due to lack of detail and transparency
School leaders union NAHT Cymru has suspended a planned ballot on a new pay offer from the Welsh Government due to a lack of detail and transparency.
Despite an improved pay offer from the Welsh Government, which included an agreement to reopen pay negotiations and a commitment to tackling the workload of teaching staff, the union’s members lack necessary details on proposals, timescales, and implementation has hindered progress.
The NAHT’s executive officers have postponed the ballot and will continue industrial action, including restrictions on receiving or responding to calls and emails before 9am or after 3pm.
They will also abstain from meetings after 5pm, and won’t facilitate unsolicited school visits or take part in non-statutory consultations or meetings, among other actions, the union has said.
The improved pay offer from the Welsh Government was an effort to resolve the ongoing industrial dispute with education unions.
NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: “It was encouraging to see the Welsh government come forward with an offer to resolve the dispute, however, it’s crucial that members have all the details necessary to make an informed decision on whether these proposals go far enough.”
“While it’s certainly important the government begins to seriously tackle the 22% drop in school leader pay in Wales since 2010, the recruitment and retention crisis in schools is also being fuelled by crippling workload pressures which are affecting the ability of leaders and staff to offer children the education they deserve.”
“It’s therefore disappointing that the Welsh government has so far been unable to back up its warm words on workload with details of tangible reforms to reduce bureaucracy.”
NAHT Cymru director, Laura Doel, added: “Reducing workload and tackling the issue of school funding is going to be crucial in resolving this dispute. While we continue to work through our workload concerns with the government, there must be commitment for change, not just discussion.”
On the issue of school funding, Ms Doel continued to raise concerns about the transparency of school funding, citing the £117m handed to local authorities in its entirety from Westminster, via the Welsh government.
“The Welsh government asked unions to join them in their call for additional funding for Wales. We delivered on our promise to do so and used our influence at Westminster to lobby for more money.”
“Money came through, that money was given in its entirety to the local authorities with a clear direction that it was for education. But when school leaders across Wales continue to talk staffing cuts due to lack of funding, you have to question where that money has gone?”
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