Teachers Step Up 'Positive' Industrial Action
Industrial action by teachers over issues including pay, pensions and workload has been stepped up amid warnings of an escalation in the coming months.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) launched a campaign of action, joining those in the NASUWT who are already taking action.
Nine out of 10 teachers in England and Wales will be involved.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "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.
"This negative approach to the profession has to stop. The action we are taking at this stage will have a positive benefit on children's education and restore a balance to the working lives of teachers."
The leader of the NASUWT claimed that teachers taking industrial action have been threatened with breach of contract and salary deduction.
General secretary Chris Keates warned that action could increase later this year if the Government does not respond to teachers' concerns.
The union would challenge any schools or employers penalising teachers for taking legitimate industrial action, she said.
"The action is already having an effect because there have been threats from local authorities and schools of breach of contract or deductions from salaries.
"The more that threats are made, the more it strengthens the resolve of teachers."
Ms Keates said unions were trying to keep the action "pupil and parent friendly", such as cutting down on paperwork, but she warned the position could change, especially after a report from the teachers' pay review body later this month.
A teacher with six years experience has lost £5,500 through a pay freeze and pension changes, while those in the job for two years had lost £3,500, she said.
"Teacher morale is at an all-time low and our research shows that over half are seriously considering leaving the profession."