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The TUC and school unions have today (Tuesday) called on the Education Secretary to stop delaying the publication of the School Teacher Review Body (STRB) pay recommendations.

In a joint letter to Gillian Keegan the leaders of the TUC, NEU, NASUWT, NAHT and ASCL warn that the ongoing hold-up is causing huge anxiety:

“There is no good reason for any delay in their publication.

“Further delay is leading to continuing anxiety across all schools and frustrating head teachers and school leaders’ ability to plan and manage already difficult budgets for the forthcoming school year.”

Highlighting the damage being caused to industrial relations and trust, the union leaders warn:

“Government briefings to the press about blocking public sector pay rises, while refusing to properly negotiate with education unions, risk worsening industrial relations and dragging out the current dispute.

“In your letter to education unions, you state your reason for refusing to do so is to abide by the PRB process: “The issue of teacher and leaders’ pay will now be determined through the usual STRB process… The STRB process is well established and consistent with other public sector pay review bodies.”

“It is therefore deeply worrying to read government now plan to abandon the PRB process too, unnecessarily prolonging and protracting the dispute.”

Calling for a resolution to the disputes, the unions say:

“It is in everyone’s interest that the current dispute is brought to a swift resolution. The ball is firmly in government’s court. We urge you to publish the STRB recommendations without delay and engage immediately in meaningful negotiations with unions.”

The full letter reads:

In your letter, you include a letter to education unions (undated) in which you reference media speculation over the recommendations made by the School Teacher Review Body (STRB) which remain, at the time of writing, unpublished. There is no good reason for any delay in their publication. Further delay is leading to continuing anxiety across all schools and frustrating head teachers and school leaders’ ability to plan and manage already difficult budgets for the forthcoming school year.

You will no doubt be aware that since your correspondence, there has been further media speculation in The Times and elsewhere that the government intend to reject the recommendations of the STRB and impose yet another real-terms pay cut on teachers and school leaders.

Government briefings to the press about blocking public sector pay rises, while refusing to properly negotiate with education unions, risk worsening industrial relations and dragging out the current dispute.

In your letter to education unions, you state your reason for refusing to do is to abide by the STRB process: “The issue of teacher and leaders’ pay will now be determined through the usual STRB process… The STRB process is well established and consistent with other public sector pay review bodies.”

It is therefore deeply worrying to read government now plan to abandon the PRB process too, unnecessarily prolonging and protracting the dispute.

It is in everyone’s interest that the current dispute is brought to a swift resolution. The ball is firmly in government’s court. We urge you to publish the STRB recommendations without delay and engage immediately in meaningful negotiations with unions.

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