Teachers vote to strike over pay and working conditions
82.5% of the members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) have voted in favour of walkouts to protect their profession, pay and working conditions.
They are planning to campaign alongside the other main teachers’ union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT). This raises the risk of strikes and disruption to schools later during the school year.
Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said her union is resorting its last option for “protecting the well-being” of its members.
“This negative approach to the profession has to stop,” she said. “No other profession comes under such continual scrutiny and no other profession has accountability systems based on so little trust.”
NASUWT’s general secretary, Chris Keates, congratulated NUT’s members for their positive ballot results, and said: “This result is the reflection of two years of sustained assault from the Government, which has been deeply damaging to teacher morale, as well as to recruitment and retention.”
NUT and NASUWT will set out their next steps this week but decided to vote separately for further actions during their annual conferences that took place last Easter.
Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, welcomed a fresh wave of co-ordinated strikes, backing future strike actions of both teachers unions regarding pay and working conditions.
He pointed out that public sector workers had endured a three-year pay freeze and faced another two years without any increase, with a rising risk of low-paid people having to rely on food banks.
“That is scandalous. The attacks on public sector workers are unfair, and our members remain furious,” said McCluskey.
McCluskey added his opinion about strikes and said: “There is a view that strikes are a waste of time, but I reject that. When people feel something is wrong, we have to protest. What else are we supposed to do? Shrug our shoulders and say taking action is not going to make any difference? When enough people march or take strike action, it has an impact.”