Teachers Balloted for Industrial Action

The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has opened a ballot of members in the Isle of Man for potential industrial action over pay, workload and working practices.

The ballot, which opened last week and closes on April 4, asks members if they would be willing to take both strike action and action short of strike action over an unacceptable pay offer for 2021/22 and the failure of ministers to tackle the adverse working practices which are driving up teachers’ workloads to an unsustainable level.

Ministers have tabled a pay offer for 2021/22 which seeks to implement the same pay freeze imposed on teachers in England, with a consolidated payment of 2% backdated to 1 September 2021, payable as an Isle of Man weighting.

However the union says this offer ‘does not come close to addressing the current rate of inflation or tackling the year-on-year real terms erosion of teachers’ salaries’.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: ‘The pay of Manx teachers has fallen by almost 30% in real terms since 2010 and the rapidly rising cost of living is eroding the value of teachers’ salaries still further every day. Teachers and school leaders have been affected by pay restraint to a much greater extent than colleagues in other jurisdictions, including in England, despite the same pay awards being imposed.

‘Salaries have been eroded during a period when workload has increased exponentially and when more and more is being expected of teachers.’

He added: ‘We have sought at every turn to negotiate with ministers, but they have completely failed to take any effective steps to ensure teachers have the pay and working conditions they need and deserve to ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

‘We have therefore been left with no option but to ballot our members for potential industrial action. We urge ministers to recognise the seriousness of the current situation and to come forward with an improved pay offer and a commitment to working with us to address the concerns of members on workload and working conditions in order that industrial action can be avoided.’