England, Wales teachers vote to strike for higher pay
September 8, 2012
Teachers in England and Wales have voted to go on strike over the “erosion” of their pay and working conditions, a teaching union has announced.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said its ballot of members had shown that 82.5% were in favour of walkouts, with a turnout of 27%.
Members also voted for industrial action short of strikes, with 91.6% in favour, the union said.
The result raises the threat of huge disruption to schools later this term.
The NUT, which has previously balloted members over changes to public sector pensions, has warned of joint strikes with the NASUWT teachers’ union.
The NASUWT, which already has a mandate to take industrial action over the same issues, welcomed the NUT’s “positive ballot”, saying the two unions would set out their next steps next week.
The NUT said both unions will be campaigning together to “ensure that the onslaught of attacks on the teaching profession stops”.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “The NUT is left with no option but to take action to protect the well-being of our members and restore their rights to do their job thoroughly and properly.
“Teachers are being undermined by a Government whose almost daily criticisms and erosion of working conditions and pay, coming on top of previous attacks on pensions, are unacceptable.”
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates added: “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.”
Some 228,831 NUT members in state schools, academies and sixth-form colleges in England and Wales were balloted in total.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We are very disappointed that a small minority of NUT members has voted this way.
“Industrial action would disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and will damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.
“Parents and members of the public will struggle to understand why the NUT chose to ballot their members now about pay and working conditions when decisions about future pay arrangements have yet to be made.”
The ballot result follows a warning by the leader of the UK’s biggest trade union of a fresh wave of co-ordinated strikes because of continuing anger over cuts to pay and pensions which were leading the country on a “path to poverty”.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said there was a “real likelihood” of more industrial action before the end of the year, following last November’s huge walkout by public sector workers over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.
The annual TUC Congress is being held next week in Brighton, when activists are expected to press for industrial action.
From Chicago to England, teachers strike!