Teacher strikes

Union boss would back NHS-style pay deal for teachers

NASUWT chief indicates he'd be prepared to recommend a deal similar to that offered to nurses to his members

NASUWT chief indicates he'd be prepared to recommend a deal similar to that offered to nurses to his members

Covid strike exams

A teaching union leader has indicated he would be prepared to recommend an NHS-style pay deal to his members, amid threats of further strikes this summer.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, confirmed he would be “prepared to put a positive spin” on a “negotiated deal” similar to what has been put to nurses by the government.

The union announced this week that it will re-ballot teachers after its members voted to reject ministers’ offer of a £1,000 one-off payment this year and 4.3 per cent pay rise for most teachers and leaders in 2023-24.

Just over 52 per cent of the union’s 130,000 serving teacher members in England voted in the survey, with 87 per cent in favour of rejecting the offer, and 77 per cent saying they would be prepared to vote to strike.

Nurses have been offered a one-off payment this year of between £1,655 and £3,789 and a 5 per cent pay increase in 2023-24.

Although NASUWT did not recommend its members reject the government’s offer for teachers, it also did not recommend acceptance, warning it “falls short of what the union has demanded from the government both for pay restoration and on non-pay improvements”.

‘We’re not going to get everything we’re looking for’

Asked by journalists at NASUWT’s annual conference in Glasgow if he’d be prepared to recommend an NHS-style deal to members, Roach said: “On a negotiated deal or offer, yes, I’d be prepared to put a positive spin on it. Why wouldn’t I?

“We go into negotiations surely in good faith and with some integrity. We sit around the table, throw stuff out. We’re not going to get everything we’re going to be looking for and we understand that.

“But frankly, if you’ve got something which looks good enough and smells good enough, why would I not put that to my members with a positive spin?”

NASUWT’s previous ballot for strike action failed to meet the legal turnout threshold required, but Roach said frustration had “built” since then.

“I don’t think the offer helped,” he said. “It didn’t help that teachers in Scotland and teachers in Wales got more. It didn’t help that there was more on the table for nurses and staff in the NHS.

“I would say our members were patient…They said, well, if talks are possible, let’s have the talks. And then we had the haste on the part of the secretary of state to get the talks done and dusted within a matter of six days.”

A spokesperson for the DfE said “after costing children almost a week of time in the classroom and with exams fast approaching, it is extremely disappointing that unions are re-balloting for more strike action”.

“NEU, NAHT, ASCL and NASUWT’s decisions to reject this offer will simply result in more disruption for children and less money for teachers today.”

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