Headteachers of primary and secondary schools across the island have this afternoon written to parents and carers warning of further strike action from teachers.
The emails - many of which carried the same wording - explained that major union NASUWT remained in dispute with the States Employment Board (SEB) over pay, and that it had put the government on notice that unionised teachers would no longer be willing to take classes on behalf of others.
The messages warned that such action would "impact the school's ability to provide cover when staff are absent".
Pictured: An example of the letter sent to parents and carers today.
"The union's action starts on 23 April and will continue thereafter until further notice. All schools are intending to remain open, but I do have to advise you that this action could disrupt the education of your child or children," headteachers warned.
"As always, I’m committed to doing everything I possibly can to avoid the interruption of learning, but my main priority is for their safety at school. The health, safety and wellbeing of pupils is paramount.
"At this stage, I don’t know what the potential impact of the union’s action will be. I will issue a further update on 23 April, when the school returns after the Easter holidays," the email message added.
Video: A recent teachers' rally in the Royal Square.
However, the latter view is not one that is shared by NASUWT, who described the SEB as having shown "intransigence".
Announcing their further industrial action last week, the union's General Secretary, Chris Keates, commented: "In the absence of progress towards a resolution of the pay dispute then they have no choice but to step up industrial action."
She added that if the stand-off continues, "further action cannot be avoided and the Union’s National Action Committee will have no choice but to proceed with the no cover ban and to consider further action including considering a rolling programme of strikes".
The ongoing pay dispute is over cost of living wage rises, which the SEB refused to award for 2018 and 2019. Following union pressure, the government pegged an additional offer to workers across the public sector of 1.3% plus the rate of inflation for 2020.
This has been accepted by some groups, but not others. Teachers are among those who have rejected it, having recently voiced their disapproval during a rally in the Royal Square.
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