Pupils in more than 2,700 schools in the north-west of England had to stay at home on Thursday as the two biggest teaching unions stepped up their campaign against government cuts. Widespread strikes will follow next term.
The NUT and NASUWT met with Michael Gove to try to resolve both unions’ disputes on pay, pensions and conditions on the 17th June but, according to the unions, no progress was made. As a result, teachers took to the streets on Tuesday in a march for education in London, followed by the one-day strike in more than 2,700 schools two days later.
The strike will be followed by regional strikes next term and a one-day national walkout before Christmas, if the unions’ campaign against curbs on teachers’ pay, cuts to their pension and changes in working conditions is not resolved, The BBC reports.
NASUWT’s Chris Keates said: “Unfortunately, despite our willingness to engage constructively to resolve the dispute and avoid strike action, the Secretary of State seems determined to continue arrogantly to disregard the concerns of teachers. Teachers, children, young people and parents deserve better than a Secretary of State who prefers reckless game playing to constructive dialogue.”
The NAHT describes its members as ‘stuck in the middle’ and commented: “The NAHT believes that as the dispute between the protagonists intensifies there are unlikely to be any winners but it is absolutely certain that children’s education will be damaged as a result. There will be plenty of rhetoric from both sides in the dispute. However, the only voice speaking up for learners is that of senior leadership teams in schools.”
A DfE spokeswoman said: “We are very disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than a quarter of teachers actually voted for. Industrial action will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession in the eyes of the public.”
Did you strike on Thursday or are you going to next term? Do you have any sympathy with concerns that pupils’ education will be damaged as a result? Share your views!