Exam board staff are set to stage a walkout which could delay young people receiving their GCSE and A Level results, a union has warned.

Workers at AQA are to stage a 72-hour walkout later this month, that could affect the delivery of thousands of results, the Unison union has said.

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

However, AQA argue the average pay increase will actually be 5.6%, comprising a 3% lift for all staff, a pro-rata payment of £500 and for any staff not currently at the top of their pay grades, an incremental increase.

Swanage and Wareham Voice: An AQA walkout could delay GCSE and A Level results. Picture: PAAn AQA walkout could delay GCSE and A Level results. Picture: PA

A Level students are due to receive their results on August 18, with GCSEs following a week later.

However, the walkout could mean results are delayed, the union says - a claim denied by AQA.

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

“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 fear ful 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.”

The AQA, which is an independent education charity, says it sets and marks more than half of GCSEs and A Levels taken in the UK each year.

Now, Unison has confirmed members will walk out for three days, from Friday, July 29 to Sunday, July 31.

AQA refutes results delay claim

Despite the union's warnings, AQA are confident results would still arrive on time.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Our priority is always to make sure students get the results they deserve on time - and we have robust plans in place to make sure any strike action won’t affect that.

"It’s a shame that Unison is claiming otherwise, as this is wrong and only serves needlessly to alarm students and teachers. 

“We’re giving our people a pay rise that’s affordable and higher than many organisations, so it’s disappointing that Unison has decided to take strike action.

"The vast majority of our staff don’t support a strike, as only around 5% of our workforce and well under half of Unison’s own members voted for it. 

“Indeed, nearly nine out of ten of our staff have already opted in to our new pay framework and agreed to the pay rise, including many Unison members, so it’s hard to see what this strike is trying to achieve."