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Teacher strikes “saved” government £310k

Teacher strikes “saved” government £310k

Wednesday 07 August 2019

Teacher strikes “saved” government £310k


Strike action by teachers, angered at their wages falling behind the cost of living, led to government “savings” of more than £300,000 due to not having to pay them.

The total unpaid wages resulting from industrial action by NASUWT and National Education Union members – the latter of which walked out for eight days in May – emerged in response to a request for information made under the Freedom of Information Law.

According to the government, “the total saving on [teacher] salaries during the strike action was £312,697. This represents £296,868 on basic salaries and £15,829 on Social Security payments.” 

Asked in a separate request how this saving would be used, officials said that “no decision has been made”, and that the money remains in school budgets.

Video: Members of teaching unions taking part in a rally in March this year. 

The response added: “Replacing the time lost from the industrial action is extremely difficult and highlights the value of each day of education provided. Schools continued to do everything they could to prepare young people for examinations by ensuring all content of the courses were taught. Schools factored in what learning pupils of all ages needed, to ensure all elements of the curriculum were delivered.”

The months-long dispute over pay between teachers and the States Employment Board (SEB) – the panel responsible for setting government employees’ pay and terms and conditions – was finally settled in June.

However, some parents and carers of children forced to shell out for childcare or lose pay or holiday to look after their children during the strikes remain dissatisfied.

Of the total salary “savings” due to strikes, £64,286 – around one fifth – related to fee-paying schools, Jersey College for Girls and Victoria College.

At the time of the dispute, some guardians went so far as to write to the government suggesting that they should withhold part of their children’s school fees due to days missed during teachers’ strikes.

teacherpay.jpg

Pictured: £64,286 was the government's total saving in teachers' wages from fee-paying schools.

However, their proposals were met with a threat of legal action from the Director General for Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES), Mark Rogers.

In a firm letter, he said that the government would not be offering a rebate in respect of school fees, nor would it be providing “financial compensation” to any parents or carers for the impact of teachers’ recent industrial action on them, whether for additional childcare costs, loss of earnings or holidays.

Part of the government’s response to the recent FOI request reinforced that view, but said that it was “sympathetic”.

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