Teachers expected to strike in February and March

Laura Kuenssberg grills Phillipson on teachers’ pay row

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Teachers have voted to strike next month after ministers refused to meet their pay demands, union sources have said. According to The Times, on Monday leaders of the National Education Union (NEU) will announce the result of the ballot of its 300,000 members.

It has planned a number of national walkouts and regional strike action which would start in February and run until mid-March.

Members in all schools in England and Wales would be called to strike.

The two to three day stoppages would follow the pattern of rail unions and the ballot for action will last for six months.

Union leaders also believe that a strike could close thousands of schools.

On Friday Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary, said she was confident that the union could reach the threshold to take strike action.

It was a sentiment reiterated by Kevin Courtney, her co-general secretary.

Head teachers have devised contingency plans including returning to the home schooling and online lessons that took place during the Covid lockdowns.

Another idea leaders have proposed is to keep schools open by doubling up classes and also putting on alternative activities.

The NEU wants a pay rise of 12 percent rather than the five percent that is being offered by ministers.

They also argue that pay has fallen by around 23 percent relative to inflation since 2010.

NEI leaders along with representatives from other education unions are due to meet education secretary Gillian Keegan on Wednesday for a second round of talks in an attempt to avoid the walkouts.

Ms Keegan has argued that after the two years of disrupted education due to the pandemic restriction, “strike action is simply not a reasonable solution”.

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Ms Bousted said last week that she thought ministers were “desperate to head off a strike” that would close schools.

She said: “An education strike is their worst nightmare, we understand.

“If a school goes on strike that has such knock-on effects.”

However she said that in order for the NEU to negotiate a “better pay deal” needed to be made by ministers.

On Friday the NASUWT teachers’ union announced that it had failed to meet the 50 percent threshold for strike action despite 9 out of 10 of those voting backing a walkout.

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