Soulbury pay talks: unions meet to consider options for breaking deadlock

9 May 2023

The trade unions representing education professionals covered by the Soulbury agreement, including Prospect, will meet this month to consider their options to get the employers’ side to re-engage with meaningful pay talks, or accept that the deal may be imposed upon them.

In November 2022, in response to the unions’ pay claim of at least 9% on all pay points, the employers’ side had offered an increase of just £1,925 and 4.04% on allowances.

Following a consultation with members, the unions reported back to the employers that there was a “clear and forceful rejection of the pay offer.”

Since then, the unions have also pointed out that RPI inflation increased to 13.8% in February 2023 and highlighted the large fall in the real value of Soulbury Officer’s pay since 2010.

Such dire financial circumstances have led to severe challenges in recruiting and retaining the Soulbury staff required to maintain delivery of services and statutory obligations.

Backing up their arguments, the unions have also referenced recent meaningful negotiations which had taken place in Scotland resulting in a pay increase of 13% over two years for educational psychologists and improvement officers.

However, there is also a realisation that unless  the unions resort to industrial action to drive this issue forward, it leaves open the possibility that the Local Government Association could still impose their deal upon members.

The Soulbury unions, of which Prospect is the largest, includes the Association of Educational Psychologists, and the National Education Union. Together, they represent educational improvement professionals, educational psychologists and managers of young people’s and community services employed by local authorities.

people at work

Education and children's services

Prospect represents professionals in education, children’s services, early years, commissioning and children’s social care.