Government warned about consequences of not reopening salary negotiations in education

NASUWT General Secretary Patrick Roach made an appeal to Gillian Keegan in his speech at the union’s annual conference in Glasgow on Sunday.

He said the Secretary of State needed “ministerial competence” to address the pay dispute after teachers in England rejected a one-off £1,000 payment for 2022/23 and a 4.5% average pay increase for 2023/24.

Mr Roach confirmed that Ms Keegan had received “formal notice” of the union’s intention to vote for a strike.

He told the conference: “I have made it clear to the Secretary of Education that you started the negotiations, so now you have to see the process.

“We are telling Gillian Keegan that she cannot leave the job of resolving this dispute unfinished. Neither should she abrogate her responsibility to solve the problems created by her predecessors.

“And I say this to Gillian Keegan too: if you think you can trust the pay review body in England to do what they want and recommend another below-inflation pay award for our members for September, then you are wrong.

Remuneration of educational personnel
Patrick Roach is the Secretary General of NASUWT (Yui Mok/PA)

“Go back to the table while there’s still time, negotiate a proper deal, or deal with the consequences.”

Mr Roach also said: “I’m not necessarily saying that Gillian Keegan has outstayed her welcome, but she certainly hasn’t passed her probation yet.

“And he won’t unless he sticks his finger out and gives teachers a proper raise and it’s fully funded.”

The NASUWT union is the fourth in the education sector to reject Westminster’s pay offer, joining the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Headmasters (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). .

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan urged to complete negotiations (PA)

Its turnout on the advisory ballot was 52.4% of the 130,000 eligible members in England, with 87% rejecting the offer and 77% favoring the strike.

Union bosses also criticized after the government said most of the 4.5% increase should come from existing school budgets.

Speaking to reporters after her speech, Roach said Ms Keegan “could be facing industrial action on a fairly significant scale before the end of the academic year.”

“That will be unfortunate,” he said, adding: “But our view is that industrial action is not inevitable.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education (DfE) said: “After costing children almost a week of classroom time and with exams fast approaching, it is extremely disappointing that unions are again voting for more strikes.

“After a week of good faith negotiations, the government offered teachers a £1,000 payment on top of this year’s pay increase, a commitment to reduce workloads by five hours per week and an overall pay increase of 4 .5% for next year, above both. inflation and average earnings growth.

“The offer was funded, including a major new investment of over half a billion pounds, and helps address issues teachers face, such as workload. The decisions by NEU, NAHT, ASCL and NASUWT to reject this offer will simply result in more disruption for children and less money for teachers today.”


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