Politics

Teachers in Wales have postponed strikes set to take place next week after a new offer on pay.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) and National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) unions will not be pushing ahead with planned strikes on Tuesday after a revised pay offer from the Welsh government.

Wales’s education minister, Jeremy Miles, has welcomed the announcement, adding that it’s “good news for pupils, parents, carers and staff”.

But the Welsh Conservatives, the largest opposition party in the Senedd (Welsh parliament), have questioned why the offer was not made sooner “to reduce the uncertainty and stress for parents and pupils”.

Strikes not definitely off yet

Industrial action by teachers in England is still expected to go ahead in the coming weeks because unions have so far failed to reach an agreement with the UK government.

On 28 February, union members in the north and northwest of England, as well as in Yorkshire and the Humber, are set to strike, while members in the East Midlands, West Midlands and eastern England will strike on 1 March.

Teachers in London, southeastern and southwestern England who are members of the NEU will also strike on 2 March.

As it stands, teachers across England and Wales will still walk out on 15 and 16 March.

But the Welsh part of the walkout will depend on the outcome of the consultation with union members in Wales.

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Union will ‘continue to press’ for more

NEU joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney, said that the union had been involved in a “series of discussions in Wales where the focus has been on resolving the dispute”.

The new offer includes a pay rise of 1.5% this year as well as a one-off payment of 1.5% of teachers’ salaries.

Mr Courtney added: “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.”

The Welsh government’s minister for education and the Welsh language, Jeremy Miles, added: “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.”

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