Teachers in England and Wales vote for strike action over pay
Ministers have been urged to re-open talks on teachers’ pay after the independent review body recommended a 6.5 percent rise this year.
Union chiefs said it was “significant progress”.
If fully funded by the Government, it could lead to an end to strikes which have seen children’s education hit and exams disrupted.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the recommendation showed how “out of touch” the Department for Education’s earlier offer was.
He said: “The Government need to fully fund the award, tackle the unresolved pay issues from this year along with easing workload and inspection pressures. The Government urgently needs to return to serious negotiations.”
Leaders of the National Education Union welcomed the recommendation. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, said: “We think this is significant progress and it could be the basis for a resolution to the dispute, but we have to go back in for negotiations.”
The School Teachers’ Review Body recommended the rise, telling Education Secretary Gillian Keegan such an increase is needed to retain teachers in the profession.
The recommended amount is more than two percentage points higher than the 4.3 percent offer made to teachers in March, which was rejected by unions.
It is understood the Education Secretary received the proposals last Tuesday. The Government wants to limit pay rises to five percent, but unions have been pushing for more.
It has been claimed a two percent increase would lead to an extra £360million of spending.
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The Government has given an extra £2billion to schools in England and said that should be sufficient to pay for salary rises.
Experts such as the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested a 4.3 percent increase would be just affordable for most schools.
Teachers in England were given an average five percent rise this year but with inflation running at more than 10 percent the education unions have sought higher increases, matching Scotland and Wales.
Consultants, nurses and junior doctors are still threatening walkouts while rail workers continue to strike.
The Department for Education said: “We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”
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