Teachers in Wales accept new pay offer ending dispute

Members of Wales’ largest teaching union have accepted a new Welsh government pay offer following strike action, bringing an end to the dispute. The National Education Union [NEU] said teachers had agreed to an overall pay rise of 8% this year.

The latest offer was backed by 73% of NEU members who responded to the ballot. Education Minister Jeremy Miles said the agreement was “good news for pupils, parents and teachers”. NEU Wales secretary David Evans said: “Our members quite clearly didn’t want that disruption to happen but we did get significant support from parents and from the communities.

“If those strike days had not happened, we would not have got around the table with the [Welsh] government to discuss this particular offer. There were no proposals in respect of any talks until the NEU indicated it was prepared to take strike action.

“We didn’t have any improvements on it until they went on strike and threatened further strike action. The awards are now for every teacher in Wales and it’s our members who have secured that. The decision means teachers in Wales will receive an 8% pay rise for the 2022-23 financial year.

It includes a 6.5% increase in annual pay and a one-off lump sum payment of 1.5%. A 5% increase in annual pay has also been agreed for 2023-24, up from the original offer of 3.5%.

Teacher strike action on 1 February and 2 March led to disruption for thousands of schools across Wales. Many had to close completely and others were only partially open due to staffing levels.

Teachers were expected to walk out for a further two days of strike action on 15 and 16 March, but that was suspended following the latest offer to NEU members. NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The members in Wales have made a clear decision to accept the pay offer, put forward by the minister in a letter dated 9 March.

“We would like to thank the Welsh government for the constructive way in which they have conducted negotiations with the union, and we look forward to a productive working relationship to ensure that the rest of the deal, focused on workload, continues to make good progress.

“Whilst this doesn’t meet our ambitions for pay restitution every part of this offer is due to our members’ efforts – and we will continue campaigning for the governments in Cardiff and Westminster to invest properly in this generation of children and the staff who work with them.”

Mr Miles said he was “pleased that NEU members have voted to accept the enhanced pay offer – this is good news for pupils, parents and teachers”.

Thanking unions and local councils for “engaging in a positive way” in negotiations”, he added: “The result today will give learners and parents peace of mind and together we can focus on teaching and learning.

“I am also looking forward to working with our partners on the workload-related issues which we have identified together. The National Association of Head Teachers, which has taken action short of strikes, is continuing to consult with members over the latest pay offer.

Source: BBC

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