education

GCSE and A-level results may be delayed because of exam board three-day strike


Industrial action could escalate unless talks over pay for exam board staff are reopened (Picture: Getty Images)

Staff at exam board AQA are to stage a 72-hour walkout that could affect the delivery of thousands of GCSE and A-level results.

The three days of industrial action – during exam marking season – will be held from Friday, July 29 to Sunday, July 31 in a row over pay.

Unison the union warned industrial action is likely to escalate unless talks are reopened.

It said many of the staff involved say they are struggling to make ends meet following successive below-inflation pay awards.

Staff were reportedly given an increase of 0.6% in 2021, with 3% offered this year, which Unison says is a real-terms pay cut.

It comes as UK retail price index inflation hits 11.8% – the highest its been in around 40 years.

Unison official Lizanne Devonport said the workers have been left with ‘no other option’ but to strike.

Exam markers in Scotland could also go on strike over pay (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Pay has been falling behind ?prices for years and 3% isn’t a ?wage rise, with costs spiralling it’s a pay cut,’ she said.

‘Things are so bad staff are fearful they will no longer be able to make ends meet.

‘Workers only strike as a last resort. They’d rather be doing the jobs that they’re proud of. They don’t want to disrupt students and know how important exam results are to them.’

Scotland’s exam body could also go on strike during during the busy appeals process, also in a row over pay.

Unite the union are set to launch an industrial ballot for workers at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) after they rejected a pay rise offer ranging from 1.7% to 4%.

On an 85% turnout, 95% rejected the pay offer, with 84% indicating they would be prepared to strike..

Alison MacLean, Unite industrial officer, said: ‘Hundreds of our SQA members are increasingly concerned about their futures due to the replacement of the SQA.

‘They are being expected to just get on with it and now to add insult to injury, some of our members are also being made an ‘offer’ as low as 1.7% while inflation soars.

‘Unite will defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions, and we will now ballot on strike action which could directly hit the student appeals process.’

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