93% of National Education Union Favoured Strike Action
The inflation-busting pay rise that the National Education Union (NEU) is calling for would help address the problem of teacher retention, which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated.
The NEU’s joint general secretaries, Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted, said in their letter to Zahawi that the government’s current plan for a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England “falls woefully short” of what is needed.
They added that the union would campaign in favour of industrial action if the government did not agree to an “inflation-plus” pay rise.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the consumer price index rose 9.1% last month, meaning that teachers’ pay would be worth less if the 3% increase went ahead.
The NEU has called for a pay rise that would restore teachers’ salaries to their 2010 levels in real terms, which would require an increase of at least 12%.
Speaking to the Guardian, Courtney said that the union was not ruling out strike action but added that it would be a “last resort”.
He also said that the government’s current offer was “not acceptable” and that the NEU would continue to press for a fair pay deal for teachers whose workloads remain at “unacceptable and unsustainable levels”.
The government has said it is “disappointed” that the NEU has rejected its pay offer and will continue to engage with the union to resolve it.
Teachers in England have seen their pay decline in real terms by around 15% since 2010, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
This is even though they are now working longer hours, with the average primary school teacher working an extra hour per week compared to 2010 and the average secondary school teacher working an extra two hours per week.
Patrick Roach is the general secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the United Kingdom. He was elected to this role on 6 April 2013, succeeding Chris Keates. Roach was born in Wolverhampton and educated at The Scotts School, Uttoxeter. He studied economics at Brunel University London, graduating with a first-class degree. Before being elected general secretary, he was an economics and business studies teacher. Being elected general secretary, he was an economics and business studies teacher in Stoke-on-Trent.
NASUWT members have voted to hold a national strike ballot over the government’s “failure” to deliver a pay rise for teachers.
The move comes after the National Education Union (NEU) wrote to education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, calling for an inflation-busting pay rise.
The NASUWT said its members had “overwhelmingly” backed taking industrial action, with 93% of those who voted in favour.
General secretary Patrick Roach said the government’s current offer of a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England “falls woefully short” of what is needed.
He added that the union would campaign in favour of industrial action if the government did not agree to an “inflation-plus” pay rise as the NEU’s letter demands.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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