Posted: Thu 2nd Mar 2023

Teachers in Flintshire walk out for a second time in ongoing row over pay

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 2nd, 2023

Teachers in Wales have gone on strike for a second time in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The National Education Union (NEU) rejected an offer from the Welsh Government of a 1.5% pay increase on top of the previously promised 5% this year, with an additional 1.5% as a one-off payment.

The union called the offer “simply not good enough” and said it failed to address cost of living issues, 12% inflation rates, and the “damage” to pay since 2010.

Welsh government officials, however, said the offer was strong but admitted the government was operating under “challenging financial constraints”.

The previous strike in January led to the closure of more than 40 schools in Flintshire.

Flintshire Council website shows that nine schools are currently closed due to industrial action though the information is not likely to be an accurate reflection of the actual numbers shut.

Earlier this week, Flintshire council said the full extent of the industrial action would not be known until today.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, NEU Secretary David Evans acknowledged the Welsh Government’s financial difficulties but urged them to explore other options to ensure teachers, support staff, and other public sector workers receive proper compensation.

He suggested reevaluating spending and considering cuts in other areas.

The offer from the Welsh Government also includes measures to address workload, which Evans called a “step in the right direction.”

However, he emphasised the need for implementation and effectiveness in the classroom.

The NEU has scheduled further strikes for 15 and 16 March.

When asked about the decision to strike, Evans clarified that no NEU members want to be out of the classroom, but “it is about protecting education in Wales for the future and ensuring the best teachers and support staff are recruited and retained.”

He expressed confidence in progress being made through “open-minded” meetings with the Welsh Government.

The strike has coincided with World Book Day, resulting in some children in Wales being unable to participate in school activities.

Evans acknowledged the unfortunate timing but reiterated that decisions regarding strike action must be made based on when action can take place.

The strike has caused disruption to pupils and parents, with thousands of pupils across Wales staying at home.

While the Welsh Government has made an offer, the NEU maintains that a pay rise matching inflation rates is necessary to address the cost of living crisis and the “damage” to pay since 2010.

The Welsh Government has acknowledged the need to address workload and has made an effort to improve compensation, but further negotiations will be necessary to resolve the ongoing dispute.

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