Exam board staff to strike on A-level results day, says UNISON  

UNISON says AQA is stubbornly refusing to discuss pay with staff.

Staff at exam board AQA are planning to strike over pay later ​this month on the day students receive their A-level grades, says UNISON today (Monday).

The 180 workers​, including those in customer services ​who would normally take calls from schools, parents and pupils about the results, will take action from Wednesday 17 to Sunday 21 August.

UNISON says this could cause issues for thousands of teenagers trying to contact AQA on Thursday 18 August​, A-level results day.

The union says ​this is the last thing dedicated AQA staff ​want to do. But employees are left with no alternative, while exam board executives refuse to budge beyond a pay offer that’s substantially below inflation.

​Wages ​at AQA increased last year by just 0.6%​, says UNISON. This year employees have been offered 3%, less than a third of the lowest measure of inflation (9.4%​). Last week the Bank of England said inflation could hit 13% by the autumn.

​UNISON says AQA is stubbornly refusing to discuss pay with staff. The union is also critical of senior managers for threatening workers ​with the sack and ​re-employment on inferior contracts if they don’t accept ​the current offer.

These new dates will be the third round of industrial action. AQA staff are also due to strike this Friday and into the weekend (12 to 15 August). They previously took action the weekend before last (29-31 July​).

UNISON ​North West regional manager Vicky Knight said: “​Employees at AQA are disappointed ​the company will neither talk to them nor ​come back with a realistic pay offer. ​This leaves staff ​with no choice but to escalate their action.

“Disrupting A-Level results day is not a decision ​anyone has take​n lightly. However, AQA staff have been treated appallingly and ​only bold action ​will get their employer to the table.

“AQA ​must come up with a serious offer to prevent any further disruption.”

A striking AQA worker said: “A-level results day is a really crucial time​. Many people can remember what it was like receiving ​their grades. No one wants to disrupt that​.

“After the first ​weekend of strike action, ​AQA staff were flooded with messages ​of support, many ​from people ​with children awaiting their grades​. They don’t mind waiting longer ​for the results if it means the people work​ing so hard to deliver th​em get paid fairly.

“​AQA colleagues are coming together ​to tak​e a stand against what’s happening. It was clear from the picket line turnout that there’s growing support, and we’re determined to win a fair resolution.”   

Notes to editors​:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Sam Doherty M: 07432 549759 E: s.doherty@unison.co.uk
Vicky Knight M: 07508 877057 E: v.knight@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk