Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Teachers to stage one-day walkout

Teachers in England and Wales are to strike over issues including pay and pensions

Teachers are to stage a one-day national walkout in the autumn in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload, it has been announced.

Every region in England and Wales will be affected by regional strikes in the first and third week of October, the NASUWT and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said. This will be followed by a national strike later in the term.

The announcement comes just weeks after the two unions staged a regional walkout in the North West. The Government has condemned the action. The unions said there will be rolling strikes across England and Wales in the week beginning September 30 and the week beginning October 14.

This will be followed by a one-day, all-out national strike before the end of the autumn term.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "The secretary of state needs to take seriously the very deep concerns and anger of teachers and school leaders." She added: "The secretary of state has the opportunity to avoid further national strike action by demonstrating that he is willing to engage seriously on the issues that we have put to him."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "Strike action is always a last resort for teachers and they are very well aware of the difficulties that this causes for parents and pupils. Teachers, however, have been left with no option. If we do not take a stand now to defend the profession, then the consequences for teacher recruitment and education will be disastrous for all."

Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to both unions in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute, but also insisting that the ''direction of travel'' on both of their key issues - pay and pensions - is ''fixed''.

Under the Government's reforms, due to come into effect from this autumn, teachers' pay will be linked to performance in the classroom - with schools setting salaries, rather than following a national framework. Changes have also been made to public sector pensions.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Industrial action will disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country.

"It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are opposing measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more. We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so."

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