The NUT has voted overwhelmingly for a strike that could close schools in England during exams, unless significant progress is made in talks.
Delegates at the NUT annual conference chanted “Gove must go” as they voted overwhelmingly for a motion threatening a national teachers’ strike in the week beginning 23rd June, the BBC reports. The union decided to consult its members on further action in the autumn.
GCSE and A-level exams are scheduled to be taken on the first three days of the week of the proposed strike action. The NUT’s general secretary, Christine Blower, said that the strike won’t disrupt exams and that any teachers who need to supervise an exam will be given exemption from taking part in industrial action.
Christine Blower demanded that Michael Gove attend talks with the unions over the dispute after Easter and address their concerns. “If the strike happens, it will be Mr Gove’s fault,” she said. “Teachers’ morale is at a dangerously low ebb. Changes to pay, conditions and a working week for teachers of 60 hours are driving many teachers out of the classroom. According to Ofsted, two in five teachers leave the profession within five years of starting teaching. Ministers must act on workload, as well as pay and pensions to halt this.”
The NASUWT has threatened to take industrial action in the lead-up to next year’s general election.
The DfE claimed that Ministers have met frequently with the NUT and that teaching has never been more popular: “A record number of top graduates are now applying to become teachers and there have never been more teachers in England’s classrooms, with a rise of 9,000 in the last year,” a spokesperson said. “It is important that teachers work closely with school leaders to ensure their workload is manageable. We trust the professionalism of our head teachers to monitor their staff’s workload and address any issues.”
The NUT also warned of strikes in sixth-form colleges, where jobs are being threatened because of cuts in funding.
What are your views about taking industrial action during the exam season? Will you be going on strike?