The National Education Union (NEU) says it is disappointed with the government’s offer of a 2.75% pay rise for teachers in England and Wales. The union has criticised Education Secretary Gavin Keegan, who said the deal was the “final offer” on the table and could not be improved upon.
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The NEU has said that if this is the case, it will be left with no choice but to pursue industrial action to secure better terms for its members. General Secretary Kevin Courtney has criticised the deal, noting that it falls short of meeting teachers’ expectations. He pointed out that inflation over the past year has increased by 3%, meaning a real-term pay cut for teachers if the deal were accepted.
The union has called on the government to rethink its offer and provide a fairer deal that recognises the valuable contribution of teachers in England and Wales. In a statement, Courtney said: “Teachers deserve better than this paltry offer. We call on the government to come back with an improved settlement considering the real-term decline in teacher pay since 2010.”
If no progress is made, industrial action from NEU members will likely follow shortly after that. This could take many forms, including strike action or other measures such as working-to-rule or boycotting activities outside their job description. Whatever form it takes, it is clear that teachers in England and Wales are prepared to take a stand for the fair pay they deserve.
It remains to be seen whether or not the government will bow to pressure and increase its offer, but it seems unlikely at this stage, given Keegan’s firm stance on the matter. The onus is now on NEU members to make their voices heard and push for a better deal. Only time will tell what comes next.
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