Commenting on the emerging information from teachers about their employers' reaction to them being stranded abroad as a result of the grounding of flights in response to the potential threat of volcanic ash, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:
"We have been inundated with queries from teachers who are stranded abroad concerned about their salary position.
"The last thing these teachers should be worrying about while they are struggling to find a way back to the UK and to work is threats from their employer about pay deduction.
"I am pleased that the Coventry Authority now has stated publicly that it will not deduct salary but reports are now coming in that Devon County Council is advising that the salaries of teachers should be docked unless they were abroad with a group of pupils. Such a two-tier position is nonsense.
"There is absolutely no reason to doubt that these teachers would have returned to work had conditions allowed.
"Teachers are being made easy targets because they have no choice but to take their holiday all at the same time and consequently the impact on schools is more marked than on other services.
"The NASUWT will take an extremely dim view of local authorities adopting such a punitive position and will resist vigorously such moves.
"These are unavoidable circumstances and must be treated as such."
NASUWT Press Office
Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD