Teachers’ union NASUWT has opened a ballot of members in the Isle of Man for potential industrial action over pay, workload and working practices.
The ballot, which closes on April 4, asks members if they would be willing to take strike action over an ‘unacceptable’ pay offer for 2021/22 and the ‘failure of ministers to tackle the adverse working practices which are driving up teachers’ workloads to an unsustainable level’.
Government have tabled a pay offer for 2021/22 which seeks to implement the same pay freeze imposed on teachers in England, with a consolidated payment of 2% backdated to September 1, 2021, payable as an Isle of Man weighting.
NASUWT described this offer as not coming ‘close to addressing the current rate of inflation or tackling the year-on-year real terms erosion of teachers’ salaries’.
Its general secretary Patrick Roach said: ‘We have sought at every turn to negotiate with ministers, but they have completely failed to take any effective steps. We have been left with no option but to ballot our members for potential industrial action.’
A spokesperson from the Department of Education, Sport and Culture said in response: ‘Whilst the department is disappointed to learn of this, it would be inappropriate to comment further until the outcome is known next month. The DESC maintains an open door policy to all teaching unions and actively engages with them on issues that affect the teaching profession on the island.’
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing has rejected a new pay offer of 4% for 2021/22 and said that there was a 71.5% turnout with 77% finding the offer unacceptable.
It balloted its members between March 1 and 17 and has been in negotiations since last May with Manx Care which presented unions with several offers ranging from one percent.
Carmel O’Boyle, chair of the RCN’s North West Regional Board, said: ‘The Isle of Man has huge potential to make itself attractive for healthcare staff to go to work however, the pay and conditions are a huge barrier to this.’
Negotiations for the 2022/23 Manx Care pay award have already begun.