Teachers accept government pay offer, strikes to end
This decision marks a significant boost for prime minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to resolve the ongoing wave of disruptive public-sector strikes
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 15: Striking teachers and supporters march to Trafalgar Square on March 15, 2023 in London, England. Earlier this month, education unions made the announcement that they would suspend planned strikes – (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The largest education unions in Britain, including the National Education Union (NEU), on Monday (31) announced that teachers in England have voted to accept the government’s pay offer.
This decision marks a significant boost for prime minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to resolve the ongoing wave of disruptive public-sector strikes.
The NEU, which has been involved in strikes that led to school closures several times this year, said that teachers have chosen to end industrial action and agree to the 6.5% pay rise that was announced by Sunak on July 13.
“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.”
Earlier this month, education unions had made the announcement that they would suspend planned strikes and encouraged their members to vote in favour of accepting the government’s pay offer.
The NEU, representing over 450,000 teachers, lecturers, education support staff, and leaders, disclosed that approximately 86% of its teacher members who participated in the vote opted to accept the offer, thereby putting an end to the industrial action.
The voter turnout stood at 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 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.