A general strike is in the shadows as the government has doubled down and are refusing to commit to accepting the teachers pay review body proposals.
Teachers are striking across England over the bitter dispute in pay and they rejected the government’s offer of a one off payment of a £1,000 for the current 22/23 school year plus an average 4.5% pay rise in 2024.
This has since been passed over to the independent School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), however MPs are refusing to accept their recommendations due to the current “economic circumstances.”
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “This could stop. What the Government must do is publish the individual pay review body recommendations.
“If it is 6.5%, they must fund schools in order to be able to pay that. And if that were the case, I believe that this would stop, so it is in the Government’s hands.”
Education minister Robert Halfon said on Sky News, he said, “Let’s find out what the pay review body says first.
“The message from the Government is that we have to be as fair as possible, given the very difficult economic circumstances… We have to be as fair as possible to teachers and support staff, I completely get that.
“But we have to be fair to the taxpayer and make sure we bear down on inflation as well, as that is the biggest tax on the cost of living – that would affect everyone, teachers and support staff included.”
NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “No teacher wants to be taking strike action and this week’s strike action should not have been necessary.
“The responsibility for it lies at the door of the Prime Minister and the Education Secretary who continue to refuse to re-enter negotiations with education unions to reach a settlement on a fully funded pay increase for teachers.”
The DfE insisted a “fair and reasonable” pay offer had been made to the unions.
A department spokesman said: “This strike action will see the cancellation of end of term events and important transition days to secondary schools, impacting children and causing more disruption for parents.”
The spokesman said on pay, “As part of the normal process, the independent School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its recommendations to Government on teacher pay for 2023/24.
“We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”