Plans being drawn up to manage Isle of Man teacher strike

Students in school
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Education minister Julie Edge said it is uncertain how many teachers will strike

Plans are being drawn up to manage six days of strike action planned by Isle of Man teachers in a dispute over pay, the education minster has said.

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) announced three two-day strikes after rejecting a new pay offer.

Julie Edge said it would be “difficult” to prepare for the action without knowing how many will take part.

About 400 members of the union were balloted over action earlier this year.

Despite the NASUWT’s rejection of the 8% pay rise offer, it has been accepted by the National Education Union (NEU).

A spokeswoman for that union said 77% of its membership of more than 350 teachers were in favour of accepting the Department of Education Sport and Culture’s (DESC) offer for the 2022-2023 year.

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Julie Edge said plans were being put in place to cope with any disruption

The deal would see a newly qualified teacher’s starting salary increased by 11.9% to £36,557, while on average most in the profession would receive the 8% rise.

It mirrors a 5% increase in teachers’ salaries awarded in the UK, with the addition of a 3% uplift agreed under a new Isle of Man weighting system implemented earlier this year, a DESC spokesman said.

The first of NASUWT’s strikes will take place on 30 November and 1 December, with others to be held in two-day blocks in January and February.

Rejecting the latest offer, the island’s largest teaching union branded it a “real-terms pay cut”, but Ms Edge argued it was “fair and sustainable”.

She said the strikes would predominantly impact secondary schools and the department’s plan to deal with any disruption would be “well communicated in advance”.

“It could be one member of one union, it could be fifty members of that union, and obviously we will not know that until nearer the time,” Ms Edge said.

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