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NAHT to ballot school leaders in England for strike action

School leaders’ union NAHT today (Fri 28 Apr) announces that it will formally ballot its members on industrial action over pay, funding, workload and wellbeing.

At a meeting of the union’s National Executive Committee yesterday, held at its Annual Conference in Telford, NAHT’s NEC decided to hold a formal postal ballot of all its eligible members in England.

This afternoon the delegates attending conference will vote to endorse that decision.

The ballot will ask one question: whether school leaders are willing to take strike action.

The move comes after NAHT members rejected the recent pay offer from government, calling it “inadequate and unaffordable.” 90% rejected the offer, with 92% saying they could not afford to pay it. 78% said they would be prepared to vote for industrial action if the offer was rejected.

Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: “Our members have been very clear: they are fed up with their continued mistreatment by government, and they want to stand up and be counted.

“I took part in the recent intensive negotiations with the Education Secretary in good faith, and we took the best offer the government could make us to our members. Their response could not be more clear: it is just not good enough.

“School leaders have suffered over a decade of pay erosion and are feeling the pinch of the cost-of-living crisis just like everyone else. But they still voted against a pay rise, knowing the damage it would do to their schools, pupils and staff.

“A pay offer from government without the funding to back it is an utterly empty promise. It simply leads to redundancies and reduced support for children.

“The government knows what it needs to bring to the table to continue negotiations. And our ballot announcement today sends a strong message that we will not go away. This dispute will continue – the government needs to recognise that and engage.”

The announcement comes as the general secretaries of all four education unions – NAHT, NEU, ASCL and NASUWT – are due to speak together at a press conference, held today (5pm) at NAHT’s Annual Conference in Telford, in an unprecedented show of unity, to announce co-ordination of their unions’ industrial action going forward.

First published 28 April 2023