Teaching strikes loom after votes
Two of the UK's biggest teaching unions are on a collision course with the Government after voting for further industrial action, including strikes, over pensions, pay and job losses.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) passed a resolution at its annual conference in Torquay seeking fresh walkouts as early as this summer amid concerns over the Government's changes to public sector pensions.
It came just hours after the NASUWT, which is holding its conference in Birmingham, agreed to escalate its industrial action campaign against attacks on pay, pensions, working conditions and job losses - meaning that schools across the country could now face walkouts from the summer onwards.
The NUT's motion, which was heard in private, called for the union to work with its local divisions with the "aim of organising a further one-day national strike before the end of June."
It also raised the possibility of targeted regional and local action in both the summer and autumn terms. Any action by the NUT could affect schools in England and Wales.
Speaking after the debate, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "The overwhelming majority of teachers and their organisations have clearly rejected the Government's policy for the teachers' pension scheme. The NUT conference has now agreed a comprehensive strategy and position to make sure that we are able to take action in order to give life to that rejection of the pensions and in order to win something better for our members so that they don't have to work longer, pay more and get less."
Eartlier, the NASUWT passed a resolution arguing that continuing their industrial action campaign is "the best means of protecting and safeguarding the interests of teachers and state education until the next general election."
It warned that in the face of a "vicious and unjustified assault on teachers, it will be essential to intensify the industrial action campaign".
A Department for Education spokesman said the teachers' pensions deal is "as good as it gets".
"It guarantees teachers one of the best pensions available but keeps a lid on rising costs for the taxpayer," he said. "We've been in serious talks for months with unions to address their concerns and reach a final settlement. Reforms to public sector pensions are essential - the status quo is not an option. It is absurd to say our school reforms are a 'vicious assault' on the teaching profession. They are all about putting children first and raising standards."