Teachers' strike postponed in Wales after revised pay offer from Welsh Government

The NEU has moved its planned strike to March, while it consults with its members on the new pay offer. Credit: ITV Wales

Teachers in Wales have announced they will no longer strike on February 14 after a new pay offer from the Welsh Government.

The National Education Union (NEU) Cymru said it had agreed to cancel the planned industrial action after "detailed talks" with the Education Minister and government officials.

The union has moved the walkout to March 2, while it consults with its members on the new offer.

It comes as NHS staff in Wales and members of the Fire Brigade Union both recently called off strike action after new pay offers.

NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: "We have now had a series of discussions in Wales where the focus has been on resolving the dispute, resulting in the current offer of an additional consolidated award of 1.5% this year, plus a non-consolidated lump sum of 1.5%.

“Whilst the offer remains significantly below our members' demands and does not begin to address the real terms cuts visited upon teachers since 2010, the Union will consult with our branches and workplace representatives to secure the views of members in Wales.

"In the meantime, next Tuesday’s strike action will be postponed until 2 March. Meanwhile, we will continue to press for a fully consolidated award and to seek an offer in respect of support staff members, who have also provided a clear mandate for action.”

Teachers in Wales taking part in a day of strike action earlier this month. Credit: ITV Wales

On Wednesday (February 8) the Welsh Government confirmed it had offered both teaching and headteacher trade unions a revised pay offer.

It added: "Also included in this revised package are a number of significant non-pay commitments relating to workload in the short, medium and long term."

The NEU's Wales Secretary David Evans said: “Workload remains a huge issue for our members and progress has been made in attending to a range of workload drivers for the short, medium, and long term.

"We have conveyed our members' views to Welsh Government, who have signalled an intent to address what has become an unsustainable pressure on the workforce and will be welcomed across the profession.

"There has also been an agreement to review the Independent Wales Pay Review Board’s recommendations on pay for the 2023/24 academic year.

"We look forward to providing detailed evidence of the effects of spiralling inflation and cost of living crisis to the IWPRB. We have been pressing for this review which is clearly overdue.”

Hundreds of thousands of pupils were impacted and most schools in Wales were affected by the previous teacher strike on February 1. Credit: PA

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) union is also consulting with its members on the improved offer.

Laura Doel, director of NAHT Cymru, said: “We're pleased that Welsh Government have come to the table with an improved pay offer. While it doesn’t fully address the 22% erosion of school leader pay in Wales since 2010, it is a strong indication of the willingness on all sides to start to address the balance.

“NAHT Cymru will now go out to consultation with our members and put this new offer to them. Crucial to their consideration will be not just the offer of more money for this year, but the agreement to look at workload, and to reopen negotiations on pay for 2023/24.”

Ms Doel added: “We will not be pausing our action short of strike during this time but will continue to take action until we reach an agreement.”

Education and Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles said: "The decision not to proceed with strike action next week is good news for pupils, parents, carers  and staff. We also welcome that NEU and NAHT have agreed to take the new pay offer to their members and representatives.  

"Discussions over recent weeks have been productive, where we have made good progress on issues such as reducing staff workload and supporting wellbeing. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in these constructive negotiations."

The Welsh Conservatives said they welcome the suspension of strike action but added it "begs the question as to why, if the money was available, the offer could not have been made earlier to reduce the uncertainty and stress for parents and pupils".

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