Teacher strikes

ASCL halts strike ballot as members accept 6.5% pay deal

In a consultation with leaders in the union, 87% voted in favour of accepting the offer

In a consultation with leaders in the union, 87% voted in favour of accepting the offer

Geoff Barton

The ASCL school leaders’ union is halting its ballot for strike action after members voted to accept the government’s pay and funding deal for next year.

The ballot, the first in ASCL’s history, was launched last month and was due to run until July 31. But it will now cease after a consultation with members found 87 per cent were in favour of accepting the offer, on a turnout of 46 per cent.

The government accepted the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body for a 6.5 per cent pay rise for all teachers and leaders, and announced it would provide funding for some of the increase.

All four education unions have recommended that their members vote to accept the deal.

General secretary Geoff Barton revealed that turnout in the ballot had already reached 47 per cent as of yesterday – just shy of the 50 per cent required in law – adding he was “confident we would have achieved the turnout threshold”.

He said the “strength of feeling demonstrated by holding our industrial action ballot, alongside similar action by colleagues in other education unions, has been instrumental in achieving the settlement to this dispute”.

But settlement ‘not sufficient’ on its own

However, he warned that “while the settlement is a step in the right direction, it is not sufficient on its own to address the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention or the funding pressures being experienced by schools and colleges”.

“It is of critical importance that this settlement is the starting point and that there is an ongoing commitment from the government to provide the resources and investment needed to ensure the sustainability of the education sector.”

ASCL will “continue to press the government for action on these issues in the future and, while we hope that it will not again be necessary to initiate a ballot for industrial action, this is something that we are prepared to do as a last resort in order to secure a fair deal for education”.

“However, our first recourse is always to find solutions through discussion and negotiation and we look forward to working with the government in this way, as we have always sought to do, in the future.”

A government spokesperson said they were “pleased that ASCL members recognise the fair and reasonable pay award recommended by the independent pay review body that recognises the hard work of teachers and leaders”.

“We hope this takes us closer to ending disruption for parents and children and allow us to work together to focus on what really matters, giving our children the best education possible.”

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