Members of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union in Guernsey have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over pay and workload.
76% of members voted in favour of strike action and 87% in favour of action short of strike action on a turnout of 57%.
The NASUWT will now be considering the scope of and a timetable for industrial action in Guernsey should an improved pay offer and proposals to address workload not be forthcoming from the States.
The current pay offer represents a further real-terms pay cut for teachers in Guernsey. Teachers’ pay has fallen behind median earnings growth and pay awards given to other States employees and is increasingly uncompetitive compared with the UK, once the higher cost of living is taken into consideration. Teachers’ pay is also considerably higher in Jersey.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “NASUWT members have overwhelmingly voted to take action. This is unprecedented on Guernsey.
“The NASUWT has been warning the States for many years that the morale of the teaching profession was collapsing under the weight of ever increasing workloads and diminishing pay, yet these warnings repeatedly been ignored.
“This situation was completely avoidable, and the fact that members have voted for action is a damning indictment of the States’ policies and practices.
“The States should be in no doubt of the resolve of NASUWT members, and need to lift their collective heads from the sand and sit down with us so that we can collectively look to solve the problems facing the profession in Guernsey.
“If such a commitment is not forthcoming from the States, then we will have no option but to move to industrial action.”
Stephen Naftel, Industrial Disputes Officer commented: “I am fully aware that the parties (the NCTLG representing the States employed Teachers and Lecturers and the States of Guernsey) have failed to reach an agreement over the rates of pay to apply to the profession from 1 January 2022.
“I have discussed this issue with the parties both separately and jointly and, having done so, concluded that there is now no prospect of a negotiated settlement. In light of this, I have referred the matter to an Industrial Tribunal for a binding award. My decision in this matter is in accordance with the Industrial Disputes and Conditions of Employment (Gsy.) Law 1993. Arrangements for the Tribunal are now being made, with Terms of Reference already agreed.
“In view of the above, I can see no reason why any form of industrial action should be necessary as a binding award in this matter will be delivered by the Tribunal”