Isle of Man teachers to be balloted over strike action as pay dispute continues – BBC News

Teachers on the Isle of Man are to vote on whether to take strike action in a long-running dispute over pay.

Three teaching unions, the ASCL, NAHT and NASUWT, have agreed to ballot members simultaneously following a row with the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC).

If supported, industrial action would start in early February 2020.

Education minister Graham Cregeen said the move was “disappointing”.

It is the first time the the Association of College and School Leaders (ACSL) has ever balloted its members for industrial action.

The row arose after the School Teachers’ Review Body recommended an across-the-board pay rise of 3.5% in 2018, which was instead changed to tiered increases by the UK government.

Pay increases for teachers in the island are linked to those given in the UK.

ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton said the government had “prevaricated to the point that our members feel utterly let down”.

The fact that the union has never balloted for industrial action prior to this dispute was “a sign of just how serious the dispute has become”, he added.

The government said it recognised the “commitment and dedication” of teachers and was “committed to an ongoing dialogue with all the unions”.

In October, members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) agreed to suspend industrial action, which had been started in September, while negotiations continued.

Speaking in the House of Keys, Mr Cregeen said: “It is exceedingly disappointing that we’re in this situation.”

The DESC was “trying to get this resolved”, he added.

The ballot for strike action and “action short of strike action” will run between 6 and 20 January with any action to start during the first week of February.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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