Politics

Ofsted inspectors and senior DfE officials to ballot for strike action

FDA union announces first national strike ballot over pay in over 40 years

FDA union announces first national strike ballot over pay in over 40 years

Senior Department for Education staff and Ofsted inspectors will be balloted for strike action over the government’s civil service pay offer.

The FDA union has announced that its executive has approved a national strike ballot over pay for the first time in more than 40 years.

The union represents senior civil servants including in-house Ofsted inspectors and high-ranking officials in government departments and agencies including exams regulator Ofqual.

It is not known how many members the union has in each organisation.

It comes after the government announced in its civil service pay remit guidance that departments could make average pay awards of up to 4.5 per cent and an additional 0.5 per cent for the lowest earners in 2023-24.

The FDA said unlike other public sector workers like teachers and health staff, civil servants had not been offered a one-off payment for 2022-23.

General secretary Dave Penman said: “In my 23 years at the FDA and 10 years as general secretary, I have never found myself so utterly at a loss as to why the government would want to treat our members and the rest of the civil service in this way.

Government ‘do not value the civil service’

“If this is, as I suspect, a tactical decision to use the civil service to send a message elsewhere then not only is it a flawed one, but once again demonstrates that there are those in government who simply do not value the civil service in the way they do the rest of the public sector.”

He added that there was “now no pretense that the government places any value in constructive dialogue, with no meaningful engagement on the substance of the ‘offer’, despite repeated assurances of an enhanced consultation process.”

Civil servants in the PCS union already voted last year to strike over pay and conditions, and have taken several days of action already this year. They are currently being re-balloted for a renewed mandate.

It comes after all four unions representing teachers and leaders voted to reject the government’s offer of a £1,000 one-off payment this year and 4.3 per cent rise for most staff in 2023-24.

The National Education Union has timetabled further strikes and will seek a mandate for more action in the autumn term. The NASUWT teaching union will re-ballot members after missing the turnout threshold required last time.

The ASCL school leaders’ union will decide this week whether to ballot its members for the first time in its history, while the NAHT will decide next week whether to re-run its ballot, which also missed the 50 per cent turnout threshold needed over the winter.

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