2 April 2018
The NEU (NUT Section) has raised significant concerns regarding the consultation document issued on 9 March 2018 regarding the proposed mechanism for determining school teachers’ pay in Wales. (1) Having been in discussions with Welsh Government officials for over a year, the consultation document has rejected a tried and tested route for determining public sector pay despite the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, expressing to the Wales TUC that ‘the Welsh Government is fully committed to the extension of collective bargaining.’ (2) The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams is advocating the use of a review body that few will have faith in and will be an expensive and unnecessary burden upon already limited resources.
Commenting after the debate of the priority motion, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT section of the National Education Union, said:
“There are parallels in Wales with the situation that existed in Scotland back in 2000. They opted for a system of collective bargaining which permits all parties, the employer, representatives of the profession and the Government itself, to feel more in control of and involved in the process of setting pay and conditions of service. The ability to represent the views of our members during negotiations is key to the NEU and Wales has a golden opportunity to devise its own mechanism that will serve teachers well in the coming years. On the basis of this consultation however, it seems likely that the Welsh Government may be happy to allow that opportunity to slip away.”
A further concern for the Union is the proposal that recommendations upon teachers’ pay will be subject to public consultation each year. Considering this element, Wales Secretary of the NUT-section of the NEU, David Evans,said:-
“Throughout preliminary discussions that we have had with Welsh Government and the employers, we have consistently opposed the suggestion that decisions on pay for a select group of public service workers should go to public consultation. Nowhere else in the public sector are the pay of professionals cast open to consultation in this way. It certainly seems that in doing this, and in contrast to the commitments to support the teaching profession we have previously had, the Welsh Government are preparing to absolve themselves of the responsibility they have in the matter. No rational explanation has been offered at any stage by the officials as to why they believe this is necessary. We are quite clear on this issue: the only people who should be consulted on teachers’ pay recommendations are the profession itself.”
(1) The consultation document can be found herehttps://beta.gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2018-03/180309-proposed-mechanism-for-determining-teachers-pay-and-conditions.pdf
(2) The quote attributed to Carwyn Jones has been taken from a letter he forwarded to the General Secretary of Wales TUC Martyn Mansfield on 21 December 2017.