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Staff at England’s largest examination board to strike over pay | Exams

Union members of England’s largest examination board will begin a 72-hour pay strike tomorrow, raising the possibility of delays in GCSE and A-level results.

The AQA said it expected 65 staff to leave – representing 5% of the workforce – and insisted the action would not prevent the results of ‘arrive on time, which is the ‘priority’ of the review board.

But Unison said the strike, which will run from Friday to Sunday, “could mean delays for students awaiting their GCSE and A-level results” on August 18, particularly because some members worked 12-hour days.

Unison’s regional organizer for the North West, Lizanne Devonport, said the union would welcome talks, but there had been “radio silence” from AQA.

Devonport said: “Staff don’t want to let young people down by going on strike at such a crucial time. They appreciate how much students rely on their grades and want them to succeed.

“But workers have had no alternative after years of what have effectively been pay cuts. They must not be left struggling to pay bills that soar as the cost of living crisis worsens.

She called on the AQA to resume talks after many staff said they were struggling financially, following successive awards of below-inflation salaries. The union, which will picket the AQA’s Manchester headquarters, said wages rose just 0.6% last year.

Unison said the AQA has offered a 3% salary increase this year, which the AQA disputes, saying it is giving an average 5.6% salary increase “which is affordable and better than that of many organizations”, once a pro rata payment of £500 and a gradual increase. for staff who are not at the top of their salary scale are taken into account in addition to the 3%.

This is the biggest pay rise in several decades, the review board said.

Unison said AQA’s offer represented a “real pay cut” given that inflation is at 9.1%. The union said the workers had been warned they could be fired and rehired on different contracts if they did not accept the offer.

An AQA spokesperson said: “Making sure students get the results they deserve on time is always our priority, and we have solid plans in place to ensure the strike will not affect that. It’s a shame that Unison claims otherwise, because this is false and only serves to unnecessarily alarm students and teachers.

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The spokesman said less than half of Unison members at the AQA voted to strike, which is about 5% of a membership of 1,200.

“It’s disappointing that Unison has decided to strike. The vast majority of our staff do not support a strike,” the spokesperson said.

“Unison is trying to disrupt meetings that are taking place to agree grade limits for students, but most of them have already ended and the rest are about to end next week, regardless of the strike. “

They added that the new contracts were part of a “new and fairer compensation framework” introduced in response to staff dissatisfaction which “gives employees greater opportunity to increase their pay over time”, and that the AQA had not yet decided what to do. in the event of staff withdrawal.

Staff at England’s largest examination board to strike over pay | Exams

Source link Staff at England’s largest examination board to strike over pay | Exams

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