Department for Education written question – answered on 20th January 2023.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, under what circumstances would people working under a Strikes Minimum Service Levels agreement be required to work.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the pay of teachers and support staff, in the context of proposed changes to rules on industrial action for education in the Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill will apply to staff working in (a) nursery, (b) primary, (c) secondary and (d) further education.
The Government has introduced primary legislation for minimum service levels that will give the public basic levels of service during industrial action across a range of sectors, including education. It gives my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, powers to introduce secondary legislation and regulations that set terms for how minimum service levels will apply to education.
The Bill is clear that terms will be subject to consultation and scrutiny in Parliament. The Secretary of State has been clear that it is not her intention to introduce regulations at this time, rather to proceed by agreement and through guidance. If the Department does seek to set minimum service levels, the exact terms will be subject to consultation with all interested parties including trade unions, as set out in the Bill.
The Government respects the independence of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB). The Department is due to publish written evidence to the STRB shortly that will, alongside evidence from HM Treasury and other consultees including trade unions, inform their recommendations on teachers’ pay for 2023/24. The Government accepted the STRB’s recommendations for 2022/23 in full, giving teachers a pay rise between five and 8.9%.
Most teachers early in their career and around 40% of experienced teachers not already at the top of their pay scale will also receive pay increases through progression or promotion, which in total could mean rises of up to 15.9% this year.
Support staff pay is not set by the Department and schools have the freedom to set their own pay. Most follow local Government pay scales that are agreed between the Local Government Association and the trade unions that represent Local Government staff. Last year, their pay increased by 10% on average and was backdated to April 2022.
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