Teacher strikes

NAHT: Industrial action ‘will be necessary’ if members reject offer

Leaders' union chief says government's pay offer is 'inadequate' and lacks 'sufficient funding'

Leaders' union chief says government's pay offer is 'inadequate' and lacks 'sufficient funding'

Paul Whiteman

Industrial action by school leaders “will be necessary” if NAHT members reject the government’s “inadequate” pay offer, its boss has said.

Paul Whiteman, the union’s general secretary, said his organisation would survey members on the offer – which includes a £1,000 one-off payment this year and a 4.3 per cent rise for most teachers next year.

They will also ask whether members would be “prepared to vote in favour of industrial action if the offer is rejected”.

The union will then decide whether to formally ballot members for action a second time based on the survey outcome.

Whiteman said the offer from government did not address “the pay erosion the teaching profession has seen for more than a decade”.

“Nor does it address the crushing weight of unreasonable accountability or workload. As such, the offer fails to address the recruitment and retention crisis that is damaging the quality of the education for children and young people.”

The NAHT also “does not believe that sufficient funding is being made available to meet even this inadequate offer”.

The government has pledged to fund the £1,000 one-off payment and 0.5 per cent of the pay award for next year with grants. But the award averages 4.5 per cent next year, meaning the rest will have to be found from school budgets.

Offer ‘cannot be afforded from school budgets’

“Creating a situation where school leaders must make cuts to afford a pay deal that the government says is designed to make teaching a more attractive profession would be perverse,” said Whiteman.

“We will be asking members to confirm or correct our early analysis that this pay offer cannot be afforded from existing school budgets.”

The NAHT, like the NASUWT teachers’ union, has stopped short of recommending that members reject the offer, which was a condition attached to it by the government.

NASUWT revealed today that the four unions involved in DfE talks had “tabled a final proposal for a £1,000 non-consolidated payment for 2022-23 and a 5.75 per cent consolidated award for 2023-24, together with non-pay improvements”.

It said it was “not recommending acceptance of the government’s offer”, which “falls short of what the union has demanded from the government both for pay restoration and on non-pay improvements”.

The National Education Union last night recommended its members reject the offer, and said it would call further strikes in April and May if it was rejected.

NAHT ‘at a crossroads’

Whiteman said the offer took his union “to a crossroads”. Its previous ballot for industrial action found support for such a move, but fell short of a turnout threshold required.

“NAHT is putting this offer to its members to consider because despite the obvious crisis in education, as well as all the campaigning on this issue, the offer is apparently the limit of the government’s ambition. It is the best that the government is prepared to make.

“If members reject the offer, it is clear that industrial action by NAHT members will be necessary.”

A DfE spokesperson said the government had “put forward a fair and reasonable offer”.

As well as the pay pledges, ministers also offered to end the statutory use of performance-related pay and set up a taskforce to cut workload by five hours a week.

“This is a good deal for teachers that acknowledges their hard work and dedication.”

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