‘Disappointment’ at union strike decision

One of the four unions representing teachers on the Island has written to the Minister for Education after balloting its members for strike action in a dispute over pay.

It comes just days after it was revealed that teachers in the Isle of Man will receive their biggest pay rise in 15 years this September. The award is equivalent to a 5.5% rise for new teachers and a 2.75% increase for all other staff.

The pay increase is equivalent to an average of £1,250 for teachers and £1,970 for headteachers – and comes at a time of great uncertainty due to the global pandemic.

In their letter, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said it has balloted its 481 members, who work in the Island’s schools, regarding strike action and action short of strike. Of the 481 entitled to vote, 275 (57%) did so, with 234 voting to strike.

In the same ballot 261 members backed action short of strike. The vast majority of those who voted work in the Island’s five secondary schools. The NASUWT also balloted 60 members at University College Isle of Man, half of which voted, with 26 voting for strike action.

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said: ‘I am extremely disappointed to receive this letter from the NASUWT. It comes at a time when hundreds of our pupils are about to receive their grades.

‘Almost all our children’s education has been heavily impacted due to the pandemic and this decision will only lead to further stress and anxiety when they begin their new school year.’

The annual pay awards for teachers is published in the UK School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) and has been applied on the Isle of Man each year since 1992. It means teachers on the Island are paid the same as those working in England and in 2019/20 received a 2.75% increase.