The NASUWT response to the Welsh Government’s pay and workload offer - Update October 2023
An NASUWT delegation consisting of the General Secretary, National Official (Wales) and Wales National Executive Members met with the Education Minister Jeremy Miles and Welsh Government officials on 4 October to discuss the ongoing pay and workload dispute.
The meeting discussed the failure of the Welsh Government to address classroom teacher workload concerns. This was admitted at the meeting.
The Minister has offered another meeting in December and the General Secretary has followed up the meeting with a letter to the Minister.
The General Secretary’s letter stated that the problem of classroom teacher workload remains unaddressed by the Welsh Government. He further stated that the NASUWT had offered solutions and now expected the Welsh Government to offer specific, practical measures to alleviate workload.
The Welsh Government’s present position
The Welsh Government’s pay award
The Welsh Government teachers’ pay settlement for 2023/24 was 5%. However, in England the final pay uplift for teachers was agreed at 6.5%.
In response to this, the joint education unions in Wales wrote to Education Minister Jeremy Miles MS to revise the figure in Wales so that there would be no detriment to teachers’ pay.
The Minister has responded to this and stated that there will be no increase to 6.5% because the award to teachers in Wales over the last two years ‘at least matches that in England’.
The Welsh Government has said that it will guarantee ‘no detriment’ with regard to the pay of teachers in Wales compared to England. However, at a time of rising inflation and interest rates, teachers in Wales have received a lower award than their counterparts in England.
The Welsh Government workload commitments
Unlike in England, the Welsh Government’s strategy to deal with the pay dispute was to commit to a series of workload commitments. Consultations over these with education unions and employers concluded in July and on 13 July the Minister issued a statement detailing the commitments.
The NASUWT was concerned throughout the consultations that the Welsh Government was not bringing forward proposals that would directly impact on the workload of classroom teachers.
This has now been borne out by the Minister’s statement. Moreover, the Westminster Government is now offering workload measures which include a commitment to reduce working time for teachers and headteachers and a raft of other workload reduction measures.
For the avoidance of doubt, the NASUWT remains in dispute with the Welsh Government over pay, in line with NASUWT Conference policy.
On both pay and workload, the Welsh Government is being left behind by the Westminster Conservative Government.
The workload commitments are extremely disappointing. The Westminster Government has shown itself to be more progressive in its approach to prioritising the workload of the classroom teacher.
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