Union ballots sixth form teachers on strike action over pay award

The National Education Union wants a 5% offer to be increased.

Charlotte McLaughlin
Wednesday 12 October 2022 12:32 BST
(Ben Birchall/PA)
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

Sixth form teachers in England are being balloted on strike action after they backed pay rising to exceed the cost of living.

The Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) has offered a 5% increase, but the National Education Union (NEU) says the RPI rate of inflation has driven the cost of living up by 11.7%.

The union’s sixth form members backed a pay rise to exceed RPI, by 97% on a 76.6% turnout, and endorsed the union to move to a formal ballot for industrial action.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “Teachers in sixth form colleges have suffered a real-terms pay cut in the region of 20% since 2010 and, in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, are not prepared to see their income fall further.

“No-one wants to take strike action, but year after year of below-inflation pay increases have now had a major impact on the value of their pay. Government needs to address what is now a serious problem for the sector.

“Sixth form colleges play an important role in the education of young people. Failure to give a fully funded above-inflation pay increase will lead to a further drain in staff from this vital sector and will diminish the education of our young people.”

In response, Graham Baird, director of HR services at SFCA, said in a statement to the PA news agency: “Sixth form college leaders fully support the NEU’s call for a significant increase in teachers’ pay.

“Despite receiving significantly less funding than schools, we have been able to match the STRB (the School Teachers’ Review Body) award for teachers in the school sector.

“This is at the very edge of affordability for our members, and it will require additional funding from the Government to ensure that teachers in sixth form colleges receive the pay increase that they deserve.”

Ballots will open on October 18 and close on November 11.

In a separate vote, other NEU teachers and support staff in England are being asked if they back a pay increase greater than RPI and balloting on strike action.

The Government has offered a pay rise of 5% to most teachers.

The union said it expects these result on Friday.

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