The National Education Union (NEU) of Britain will hold a formal strike votes of its members if British Education Secretary Kit Malthouse does not agree to fully-fund a pay rise for teachers and support staff above the rate of inflation by October 14, reports Schools Week.
The NEU is currently holding an online poll of teacher and support staff members over strike action, said it would officially enter a trade dispute with the government if its demands are not met. It comes after schools minister Jonathan Gullis said the government was “not going to budge” on its pay offer, worth just 5 per cent for those at the top of the pay scale and 8.9 per cent for those at the bottom of the pay scale. The current CPI inflation rate in England is 9.9 per cent.
In a letter, the NEU said that the education secretary had until noon next Friday October 14 to give schools the funds to allow them to increase the pay of staff “at a rate greater than the rate of inflation (RPI) as at September 2022”. September RPI figures have not yet been published, but the measure hit 12.3 per cent in August.
The dispute would apply to teachers and support staff working in academies and local authority maintained schools. A separate letter has been issued with a similar threat relating to sixth form college staff.
Joint general secretary of the NEU Kevin Courtney said unless Malthouse agreed to the funding for a “fully funded above inflation pay increase…we will be formally balloting our members for strike action”. Arguing that staff can no longer take real-terms cuts, Kevin Courtney said, “No one wants to take strike action, but education staff can no longer take year after year of below inflation pay increases which have had a major impact on the value of their pay since 2010.”
The NEU has formally asked Malthouse to use his powers under section 14 of the 2002 Education Act, which allows the government to give financial assistance to schools for staff pay and to promote recruitment and retention.
Courtney urged the Education Secretary to “take this issue seriously and to act urgently”. He added, “Failure to do so will ensure that we have an understaffed education system that will fail children and young people. It is in the Government’s hands, and we hope for a swift resolution.”