Teachers in England accept pay offer

Teachers in England have voted to accept a government pay offer, Britain’s largest education unions said on Monday, in a boost for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to end a wave of disruptive public-sector strikes.

The National Education Union (NEU), whose strikes have shut British schools on a number of occasions this year, said teachers had voted to end industrial action and accept the 6.5% pay rise announced on July 13 by Sunak.

“Members have spoken very clearly and in great numbers,” Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the NEU, said, describing the deal as the “highest pay award for over thirty years. Education unions had said earlier this month they would call off planned strikes, and recommended voting to accept the government’s pay offer.

The NEU, which represents more than 450 000 teachers, lecturers, education support staff and leaders, said around 86% of its teacher members who voted chose to accept the offer and end industrial action. Turnout was 60%.

“This is good news for teachers, good news for parents and most of all, good news for students,” Britain’s education minister Gillian Keegan said in a post on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter.

The teachers’ union NASUWT said a majority of members who responded to a consultative survey accepted the pay award. The union warned that more needed to be done to tackle “excessive workload and long working hours. Two smaller British education unions have also accepted the deal.

Britain has been facing its worst wave of industrial unrest in years, including by railway workers, as pay offers fail to keep up with high inflation.

Sunak’s pay offer still faces opposition from healthcare workers, whose walkouts have disrupted an already burdened state-run health system with thousands of cancelled appointments.

Source: eNCA


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