UK & World News

  • 19 April 2014, 12:27

Teachers' Strike Possible If Talks Break Down

Teachers are considering a fresh walkout just weeks after strike action forced schools across England and Wales to close.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) meeting for their annual conference today will debate the possibility of industrial action next term unless "significant progress" is made in talks with the Government.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "We have a motion that's going to be put to delegates which envisages industrial action in late June if we don't make progress in the talks with the Government in May.

"But the first priority is for a minister to actually come to those talks and we'd like to make progress on a list of things."

That list includes performance-related pay due to be introduced from September, heavy workloads and pensions.

The national walkout on March 26 saw 12% of schools shutting their doors, according to the Government, but thousands more were disrupted.

Any further strike action would be held in the week starting Monday, June 23 after the majority of GCSEs and A Level exams are over. However, some exam boards have papers scheduled for that week.

Teachers gathering for the conference called on Education Secretary Michael Gove to listen to their concerns.

"Certainly I will be thinking about voting to strike," said one. "Where I work people are concerned about the work loads, targets and the pressure Government puts on teachers."

Another told Sky News: "If Mr Gove would just listen to us and negotiate with us then strike action wouldn't go forward but he has to listen to us."

A poll commissioned by the NUT shows that two thirds of parents support teachers' right to strike.

But for the Lamberti family it smacks of double standards.

Mother-of-two Clare Lamberti said: "We applied for a day's holiday to take the girls away for the weekend and they turned it down.

"They said it would disrupt their education but obviously a day here and a day there for strikes, that's going to disrupt their education.

"One rule for them ... one rule for us obviously."

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) is also holding its conference this weekend.

Both unions will be discussing concerns over the growing number of unqualified teachers taking classes.

Of 7,000 teachers surveyed, 53% told the NASUWT they worked alongside unqualified staff. That rose to 61% in academies.

But in a separate poll by the NUT, 82% of parents said schools should only employ qualified teachers.

Advertisement