The Welsh Government have made a new pay offer to teachers and school leaders to try and bring industrial action to an end.
Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, said:
“We welcome the improved pay offer for teachers and leaders, and the commitment to reduce systemic pressures which are driving unsustainable levels of workload. Both issues – pay and workload – are vital to addressing the teacher recruitment and retention crisis and enabling schools to put teachers in front of classes.
“This is the product of extensive negotiations between the Welsh government and trade unions which have been conducted in a constructive manner by all concerned. We will now discuss this offer with our senior elected members.
“We also welcome the commitment given to us by local authorities in Wales that they will ensure that Welsh government funding will be passed on to schools in full to ensure they are able to pay these awards. This is of critical importance given the huge financial pressure on schools.
“The negotiations in Wales have taken place within tight funding constraints and it is to the credit of the Welsh government that they have found a way forward. All eyes will now be on the government in Westminster to show a similar commitment to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in England.”
Laura Doel, director of school leaders’ union NAHT Cymru, said:
“We’re pleased that Welsh Government have come to the table with an improved pay offer. While it doesn’t fully address the 22% erosion of school leader pay in Wales since 2010, it is a strong indication of the willingness on all sides to start to address the balance.
“NAHT Cymru will now go out to consultation with our members and put this new offer to them. Crucial to their consideration will be not just the offer of more money for this year, but the agreement to look at workload, and to reopen negotiations on pay for 2023/24.”
NAHT Cymru will consult its members via an electronic ballot between 15-22 February.
Ms Doel continued: “We will not be pausing our action short of strike during this time but will continue to take action until we reach an agreement.”
NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said:
“The willingness of the Welsh Government to engage in talks with us about the current pay dispute is in stark contrast to the position taken by Westminster and the Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan. We have now had a series of discussions in Wales where the focus has been on resolving the dispute, resulting in the current offer of an additional consolidated award of 1.5% this year, plus a non-consolidated lump sum of 1.5%.
“Whilst the offer remains significantly below our members’ demands, and does not begin to address the real terms cuts visited upon teachers since 2010, the Union will consult with our branches and workplace representatives to secure the views of members in Wales. In the meantime, next Tuesday’s strike action will be postponed until 2 March. Meanwhile, we will continue to press for a fully consolidated award and to seek an offer in respect of support staff members, who have also provided a clear mandate for action.”
Dealing with additional elements of the talks, NEU Wales Secretary David Evans, said:
“Workload remains a huge issue for our members and progress has been made in attending to a range of workload drivers for the short, medium and long term. We have conveyed our members’ views to Welsh Government, who have signalled an intent to address what has become an unsustainable pressure on the workforce and will be welcomed across the profession.
“There has also been an agreement to review the Independent Wales Pay Review Board’s recommendations on pay for the 2023/24 academic year. We look forward to providing detailed evidence of the effects of spiralling inflation and cost-of-living crisis to the IWPRB. We have been pressing for this review which is clearly overdue.”