Teachers striking against pay and conditions in the North West
Thousands of teachers have taken to the streets in a one day walk-out in protest against their pay, pensions and condition of service in North West England today.
Members from two of the biggest unions, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) took part in the strike, affecting an estimated 2,765 schools in 22 authorities across Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Chester.
Action was taken after a poll of 14,000 teachers, published by the NASUWT yesterday, revealed that teachers are increasingly unhappy and many considered leaving the profession.
The Department for Education (DfE) has condemned the walk-out as a disruption to learning, of which NUT general secretary, Christine Blower, said the union “seriously regrets”.
Ms Blower told the Evening Standard: “With the profession now under serious attack from the Government, we have to take a stand to protect education and teachers. The North West will be taking the lead in sending a message to Education Secretary Michael Gove that teachers are not prepared to accept government attacks on our pay, pensions and conditions.”
She continued: “Not content with wanting teachers to get less pay and retire later, Michael Gove now wants to go ahead with ‘liberalising’ teachers’ working conditions such as the length of working days and hours and our entitlements on non-contact time and cover.
“Teachers are angry about the impact these imposed changes are having on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and on the provision of quality education for pupils,” she added.
NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, explained: “Over the last three years, the Coalition Government has mounted savage attacks on teachers’ pay, pension and conditions of service.
She added: “No teacher embarks on strike action lightly. No teacher has any wish to inconvenience pupils or parents or disrupt the provision of education – but a strong stand now must be made to protect the pay and conditions of service which make our schools world class.”
DfE spokeswoman said: “We are very disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than a quarter of teachers actually voted for. Industrial action will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession’s reputation.”