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NAHT Cymru members reject Welsh government offer

School leaders in Wales have rejected an offer from the Welsh government in their dispute over pay, workload and funding.

Following a 10-day online ballot that closed at noon today, 54.5% of NAHT Cymru members taking part voted to reject the offer.

The union says that during extensive talks with members across the nation, it was clear that funding arrangements remained a major concern for school leaders.

NAHT Cymru director Laura Doel placed the blame firmly with the employers, citing a lack of transparency as the reason members rejected the deal.

“Despite assurances from the Welsh government and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) that pay awards for the current academic year would be fully-funded, that has clearly not been the case according to our members.

“The WLGA has refused to provide us with the evidence to substantiate their claim that all 22 local authorities and the Welsh government are fully-funding the pay uplifts for 2022/23, and our members simply will not sit back and allow their school budgets to be decimated to fund this award.

“They have understandably lost all trust and confidence in the employers and hold out little hope that the award for the next academic year will bring with it any further money.

“At the heart of our dispute has been a desire to protect the delivery of education for children in Wales.  This ballot result sends a clear message that our members do not believe they can maintain the level of support pupils deserve when they are being short-changed by some local authorities on the promise of funding.

“The only way our members can afford to meet the costs without the money they need will be to make redundancies.  This will have a detrimental impact on education for this and future generations and therefore we are urging the Welsh government to intervene and help save our schools from ruin.”

NAHT Cymru has now written to the Welsh government and employers to inform them of the outcome and Ms Doel added that she was calling for talks to resume to bring the dispute to an end as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, members will continue to take indefinite action short of a strike following their earlier ballot on industrial action.

This means that union members who are employed as headteachers, deputy headteachers, assistant headteachers and middle leaders will:

  • Restrict availability to receive or respond to calls and emails before 9am or after 3pm
  • Abstain from attending meetings after 5pm
  • Refuse to facilitate unsolicited school visits or take part in non-statutory consultations, surveys, projects, meetings, government, local authority or Consortia webinars or data requests
  • Abstain from involvement in any staff appraisal or redundancy process
  • Abstain from facilitating or arranging cover for those taking part in any industrial action
  • Refuse to provide information regarding staff participation in industrial action
  • Refuse to engage with Estyn, which inspects education and training providers in Wales, beyond statutory requirements

The government’s offer included an additional payment of 3% for this academic year (2022/23), made up of a 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump-sum. The offer also included a further pay rise of 5% from September 2023, plus an agreement on workload. The ballot result saw 54.5% of NAHT members participating reject the offer and 45.5% vote to accept it.

First published 24 March 2023
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