WALES TUC delegates voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reject the Silk Commission proposal to devolve teachers’ pay and conditions to the Welsh government.
Mover Philip Dixon of ATL Cymru said that he had always supported devolution “but one thing we have never sought or welcomed is devolution of pay or conditions.”
He noted the funding gap of £600 per teacher in Wales compared with England and suggested that devolution would result in lower pay in Wales.
Mr Dixon said that he was not calling for teachers to take to the barricades, but “change was in the air” and they had to “ensure that government talks to us.”
Ben Cox of NUT Cymru said that there had been successes for education in Wales when the government worked with teachers and support staff.
If wages were driven down, “this would affect the desire of people to become or remain as teachers in Wales.
“We can’t accept teachers being paid less than across the border in England.
“Pay and conditions must be protected if the best practitioners are to stay in Wales.”
Elaine Edwards of Welsh teachers’ union UCAC accused the movers of the motion of “scaremongering.”
She suggested that the Welsh social model could protect teachers in Wales.
Fellow UCAC member Elen Davies asked conference: “Have we not got confidence in our country, in our government, to take care of the situation?”
But Rex Phillips of Nasuwt accused them of “effectively speaking in favour of regional pay” and urged support for the motion.
It was carried overwhelmingly.