Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Teachers' union NASUWT announces day of industrial action

Teachers across the UK are to take industrial action short of a strike in their long-running dispute with the Government over pay, jobs, pensions and workloads.

The National Union of Teachers and NASUWT said their members will take co-ordinated action from September 26.

The unions said the aim was not to affect pupils, with the action including not attending meetings, filling in forms or covering for absent staff.

Unions said the action was intended to be pupil, parent and public-friendly, whilst resisting Government policies which they said were undermining teachers' ability to work effectively.

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said: "The Secretary of State for Education was put on notice in May that he could address teachers' concerns and avoid the possibility of further industrial action.

"He has recklessly disregarded this warning.

"At every turn, the Secretary of State shows contempt for the teaching workforce.

"What happens to teachers directly affects the quality of education for children and young people. Teachers and their pupils deserve better."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "Teachers' morale is dangerously low. Over-the-top accountability measures are exhausting teachers and the idea that they can work to 68 is absurd.

"For the sake of teachers and children's education, these constant attacks from Government need to stop."

NUT deputy general-secretary Kevin Courtney said the action will be followed by strikes if the Government did not deal with teachers' concerns.

The action from September 26 was not aimed at damaging pupils' education, but would reduce teachers' workloads, he said.

"We will keep strike action under consideration and the Government will have to move by half term at the end of October."

The teachers pay review body will report back by the end of October on issues such as local pay, and the Government's response will determine the unions' next move, said Mr Courtney.

Teachers will soon start a second year of a pay freeze, followed by a 1% increase for each of the following two years.

Mr Courtney said teachers were not being asked to withdraw from school sports or voluntary activities.

The NASUWT and the NUT represent nine out of 10 teachers in England and Wales.

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