Today, the NUT announced that members in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to protect pay and working conditions. In the NUT’s ballot, 91.7% voted in favour of strike action.
The NUT is calling the first day of strike action on 5 July. The strike demands are to increase funding to schools and education, guarantee terms and conditions in all types of schools, and to resume negotiations on teacher contracts to allow workload to be addressed.
Kevin Courtney, Acting General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT is not taking action lightly. In light of the huge funding cuts to schools, worsening terms and conditions, and unmanageable and exhausting workloads, teachers cannot be expected to go on without significant change.
“The effects on children’s education are also real and damaging. As a result of school funding cuts, class sizes in primary and secondary schools are increasing, subject choices are being cut, and children are getting less individual attention as teachers and support staff are made redundant or not replaced when they leave. There is worse to come, with the Institute of Fiscal Studies predicting that the biggest real terms cuts to per pupil funding in a generation are on the way.
“There is already a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools. Without significant change to the pay and working condition of teachers, this will simply deepen. We know that many parents share our concerns.
“At the absolute minimum, schools urgently need extra funding to meet the additional costs Government has put on them through increased National Insurance and pension payments. This amounts to a 5% charge on the teachers’ pay bill for schools. George Osborne is freezing the cash per pupil he gives to schools, whilst increasing what he takes from them. For every 20 teachers employed, a school has to find an extra teacher salary to give to the Treasury.
“The commitment from Government to ensure all schools become academies will result in decisions on pay and working conditions, including maternity/paternity rights and sick pay, being made at school level. There is absolutely no evidence that this sort of deregulation will lead to higher standards. There needs to be a guarantee of good standards for teachers’ terms and conditions across the board, in all schools. School leaders’ attention should be on educating children, not squandering huge amounts of time on negotiating individual staff members’ contracts.
“Nicky Morgan needs to engage properly with teachers to address the real problems that are occurring in our schools. The Education Secretary should negotiate with teacher unions on protections for school teachers from a workload crisis which is now completely out of hand. These problems are of the Government’s own making and it is time they addressed them before the education system in England falls apart at the seams.”
The ballot on strike action over the threat to national pay and conditions is open until June 22.
If all schools become academies, your national pay and conditions are at serious risk. These include maternity, paternity, directed time, pay progression and many more.
Please ensure that you return your ballot paper on time so that together we can fight to protect our terms and conditions.
Remember that our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.