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This where I came in to the debate teachers’ pay despite 1985 when my daughter was in school every week other to allow exam pupils not to miss any lessons. Then began 30 years of fighting over pay but we never learn

19 November 2019 313 views No Comment

Teachers threaten to strike in pay and discipline dispute with Welsh Government
Union says Welsh government has failed to act since pay and conditions were devolved last year

ByAbbie WightwickEducation Editor
16:35, 19 NOV 2019

The union apologised to parents for the strike action
Teachers at Tonyrefail School went on strike over redundancies earlier this year – one of a number of strikes taken by NASUWT members in recent years. (Image: Rob Browne)
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Teachers in Wales are threatening to strike over pay, conditions and pupil behaviour.

The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers Cymru (NASUWT Cymru) the largest union in Wales representing exclusively teachers and headteachers, has lodged a formal national trade dispute with Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams.
It means members could be balloted on pay and conditions including “excessive workload”, “pupils indiscipline” and “adverse management practices”.
The union said Kirsty Williams had failed to address these concerns when raised in previous talks and has requested a further meeting ahead of a possible ballot.

Kicked, bitten and pushed down the stairs – the shocking abuse teachers in Wales have to deal with
Chris Keates, NASUWT acting general secretary, said the Welsh Government had failed to take action since pay and conditions were devolved in 2018.

“Whilst the government may claim that it recognises the issues and has taken action to address workload, the reality is that there has been no tangible improvement,” she said.

“Schools and employers have simply ignored any workload strategies and guidance issued by government.

“Meanwhile excessive workload continues to blight teachers’ working lives and the government has failed to act to ensure that burdens are reduced.”

The NASUWT said its own Annual Big Question Survey (Wales) answered by 1,000 teachers this year showed:

85% regard workload as their top concern with marking and assessment, administrative and curriculum change impacting them most,
More than half say there is a problem with “pupil indiscipline” in their school.
88% report being verbally abused in the last 12 months.
15% report being physically assaulted in the last 12 months and 46% report being regularly shoved or barged by pupils over the same period.
73% do not believe that they are paid at a level commensurate with their skills, abilities and experience.
43% report cutting back on food and over a quarter on other essential household items.
Three quarters say their mental health has been adversely affected by their job, two thirds say their physical health has been affected and 73% say they have seriously considered quitting teaching altogether in the last 12 months.

Chris Keates, the NASUWT general secretary
Teachers start six-day strike in a row over ‘intimidating’ management and workload
Ms Keates said in “too many schools there is now a flourishing culture of “blame the teacher” for the unacceptable behaviour of pupils”.

“All teachers, in whatever type of school or setting they work, are entitled to a working environment free from violence and disruption. The government is failing to ensure that employers and schools provide this.”

She added that although a decade of austerity “ imposed by the Westminster Government” has played a key part in the decline in teachers’ pay in Wales, since pay and conditions were devolved to Wales last year there has been little change.

She said Welsh Government had “squandered the opportunity for change by failing to implement fully the recommendations from the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body.

“The 20% teachers’ pay gap compared with other graduate professions will never be addressed unless the government takes seriously the Wales Pay Review Body process.

“I wrote to the minister in August raising once again the deep concerns of teachers and received a reply in October.

“Regrettably, the minister failed to engage seriously with any of the detailed points made, merely noting the issues relating to pupil indiscipline and making references to the other concerns the NASUWT had highlighted being discussed in a series of meetings with stakeholders.

“These are the very same meetings which have failed to make any material or positive difference to the working lives of teachers.”

Teachers at Connah’s Quay High School walked out of the classroom in a strike over “adverse management practices” in 2018.
Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official for Wales, said:

“In the light of the minister’s unacceptable response, the NASUWT has decided that there is no choice but to lodge of formal trade dispute with the Welsh Government.

“In lodging the formal dispute, the NASUWT requested a meeting with the minister, prior to the union balloting its members in furtherance of the dispute.

“A meeting to discuss the NASUWT trade dispute with the minister will take place at the beginning of December.

“If we cannot secure at that meeting progress which will secure strategies to make an immediate tangible difference to teachers’ daily lives on their issues of concern, then the union will have no choice but to consider balloting members for industrial action.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “It’s disappointing that NASUWT fail to mention that the Welsh Government went beyond what the Pay Review Body recommended – delivering 2.75% for all and a record 5% increase for new teachers.

“The Minister was ready to discuss this, and other issues, with the Acting General Secretary earlier this month, however the meeting has had to be arranged for December.

“This Welsh Government is delivering the single biggest investment in teachers since devolution. This ensures a professional learning programme which gives our teachers the support, resources and training they need so they can continue to raise standards for all.

“We also note that NASUWT has on-going and recent industrial action in each UK nation.”

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