Employees at examination board AQA are planning to strike over pay on A-level outcomes day, as colleges minister Will Quince hits out at “scaremongering” from their union over disruption claims.
The 180 staff, together with outcomes managers, heads of curriculum and prospects service workers, will stage a five-day walkout from 17 August to 21 August.
The union has urged that “1000’s” of youngsters making an attempt to contact AQA on A-level outcomes day, Thursday August 18, might face difficulties getting by way of in consequence.
However the examination board has once more rebutted disruption claims, emphasising that outcomes wouldn’t be delayed and that “strong contingency plans” have been in place.
Whereas Unison mentioned putting is the “final thing” workers need to do, it added that staff had been left with “no various” after the examination board refused to budge past a pay provide under present inflation.
Unison and Unite have rejected a 3 per cent pay improve plus a £500 cost for workers, claiming the charity is “failing its workers and pupils by holding down pay”. AQA says the typical pay improve works out at 5.6 per cent.
The present UK fee of inflation is 9.4 per cent. Final week, the Financial institution of England mentioned inflation might hit 13 per cent by the autumn.
Unison’s North West regional supervisor Vicky Knight mentioned the “outcomes ‘machine’” couldn’t “work successfully” with out its members.
“We perceive that there could also be an affect on outcomes day, significantly round pupil queries, administrative errors, customer support enquiries and so on,” she added.
“Staff at AQA are upset the corporate will neither speak to them nor come again with a sensible pay provide. This leaves workers with no selection however to escalate their motion.
“Disrupting A-level outcomes day is just not a choice anybody has taken frivolously. Nonetheless, AQA workers have been handled appallingly and solely daring motion will get their employer to the desk.
“AQA should include a severe provide to stop any additional disruption.”
However AQA has repeatedly got down to reassure college students that outcomes day wouldn’t be impacted by strikes, together with by declaring that these participating make up a small proportion of its workforce. The examination board has round 1,200 workers in complete.
A spokesperson added: “We’re dismayed that Unison has chosen to intentionally goal college students like this, but it surely received’t cease us from delivering the examination outcomes our learners so richly deserve or supporting everybody afterwards.
“Now we have strong contingency plans in place to make sure that industrial motion has no impact on outcomes, and we efficiently examined these plans throughout the earlier industrial motion in July.
“Our data present that solely 4% of our complete workforce took half in that industrial motion – and the remaining 96% are completely dedicated to by no means letting our learners down.”
Faculties minister Will Quince has additionally criticised the union for “scaremongering”.
“I feel younger folks have sufficient to fret about and be involved about, forward of examination outcomes anyway,” he instructed the PA information company.
“So as to add this into the combination as a possible fear about whether or not their papers can be marked and their outcomes will come by way of on time is completely pointless.
“I’ve had assurance that they received’t have any affect however sadly scaremongering of this type of nature by unions is deeply regrettable.”