Members of NAHT, the union which represents leaders in every school on the Isle of Man, will be meeting this evening to consider next steps with their industrial action.
NAHT served notice at the end of August to the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) that their members were recommencing industrial action short of strike action at the start of the new term. This followed a union meeting in July where members voted overwhelmingly to recommence action short of strike at the beginning of the new academic year.
Action was paused when the Covid-19 pandemic struck back in March, with school leaders and their teams working tirelessly to ensure that schools remained open to children of keyworkers and the most vulnerable pupils.
Despite the recommencement of industrial action, the DESC have made no effort to reach out in order to find a resolution to the dispute by arranging any further talks with the trade unions under the auspices of the Manx Industrial Relations Service (MIRS).
The meeting tonight will be attended by over a hundred NAHT members and they will be addressed by the NAHT General Secretary, Paul Whiteman, and their National President, Ruth Davies.
Paul Whiteman, NAHT General Secretary, said: “We have attempted to negotiate in good faith throughout this process, and continue to ask only for a fair settlement to resolve the dispute. The question must be asked as to whether the DESC genuinely want to resolve this dispute in the absence of them agreeing to any further talks. It is for this reason that our members will be considering next steps with their action this evening.”
The NAHTs official industrial action ballot earlier in the year saw 96% of their school leader members vote in favour of taking industrial action short of strike, and 87% said they were prepared to strike.
Ruth Davies, NAHT National President, said: “Our members on the Isle of Man have the needs of children and young people as their highest priority and are striving for the Isle of Man to have one of the best education systems. Without proper investment in the island’s teachers and leaders this remains a distant reality.”
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First published 14 September 2020