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Department of Education, Sport and Culture statement on NASUWT industrial action

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

The Department of Education Sport and Culture (DESC) met with the NASUWT on Friday to discuss the ongoing trade dispute. At this meeting the Union was asked to reconsider an action short of strike action, which means its members now refuse to cover break times.

While the Department managed to find cover last week to ensure students were safe – this is no longer sustainable and means some schools might be forced to close to certain year groups this week as the safety of students cannot be guaranteed. In this situation parents will be contacted directly by their child’s head teacher.

The Department is deeply disappointed that the NASUWT continue to escalate the list of actions its members will not carry out - especially following the implementation of the London fringe pay scales and an additional Isle of Man weighting of 1%. This saw all teachers receive an uplift between 2% - 7.6% and was backdated to 1 September 2021.

The majority of unions accepted this offer earlier this year and the Department made arrangements to pay teachers and lecturers, using the improved pay scales, from July 2022. The arrears from September 2021 were also paid last month.

This arrangement was set against a backdrop of a pay freeze for UK teachers in 2021, however, the Department sought to find the best way to recognise and reward the hard work and dedication of the Island’s teachers and lecturers. In addition, in July, it was recommended that teachers across the UK would benefit from pay increases of between 5% and 8.9% from September 2022.

This proposal is due to be verified at the end of the month, as the UK Government fully accepted pay recommendations from the independent School Teachers Review Body (STRB) for the next academic year.

Pay talks with all recognised teaching unions will commence once the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) has been ratified following these recommendations. These pay talks are currently scheduled for October.

In light of the above, the Department is unsure as to what the continued escalation at this point will achieve and is concerned that without appropriate cover at break times, the safety of students will be put at risk and schools could have to take the necessary action, including sending year groups home.

Schools will endeavour to operate as normal during this escalation and the safeguarding and wellbeing of children will continue to be at the heart of all decision making.

The Department continue to invest in the workforce, recognising the value of the profession and the role it plays in the future of our young people and education across the Island whilst remaining committed to actively engage with all unions.

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