Headteachers Union to utilise ballots for Strike

A headteachers’ union is to ballot its members for strike action in a row over pay for the first time in its 125-year history. The NAHT’s general secretary said he had told the education secretary that the two parties are “now officially in dispute” over wages and funding.

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“I can only urge him and the government to listen and take urgent action,” Paul Whiteman added.

The union held a recent survey which found most members in England and Wales supported a ballot for industrial action short of a strike. Even though fewer respondents supported a vote for strike action, they were still in the majority.

NAHT president Julie McCulloch said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but the government has left us with no choice.

“The school funding crisis is real and damaging children’s education and prospects. We cannot let this continue.”

If the ballot, which opens on Wednesday and runs until 5 June, is successful, strikes could begin in the autumn.

The poll will open on Wednesday and close on October 5. If members vote in favour of strike action, the union could call a walkout as early as next month.

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The government said it was “disappointing” that the NAHT had decided to ballot for industrial action.

A spokeswoman for Education said: “We have increased the core schools budget by £4.6 billion in real terms since 2016, and headteachers’ pay has risen by 6.5% over three years, meaning salaries are now at an all-time high of almost £60,000 outside London.

“This is in addition to a new £140 million cash injection to help headteachers cover additional pension costs this year – on top of the extra £1 billion we are already providing for pensions next year.”

The NAHT represents around 28,000 school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The National Education Union (NEU), which represents teachers, has also said it is consulting its members on industrial action over pay and funding.

The union’s joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The education crisis is deepening by the day, and the government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand.”

What do you think about this story? Let us know in the comments below.

A headteachers’ union is to ballot its members for strike action in a row over pay for the first time in its 125-year history.

The NAHT’s general secretary said he had told the education secretary that the two parties are “now officially in dispute” over wages and funding.

“I can only urge him and the government to listen and take urgent action,” Paul Whiteman added.

The union held a recent survey which found most members in England and Wales supported a ballot for industrial action short of a strike. Even though fewer respondents supported a vote for strike action, they were still in the majority.

NAHT president Julie McCulloch said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but the government has left us with no choice.

“The school funding crisis is real and damaging children’s education and prospects. We cannot let this continue.”

If the ballot, which opens on Wednesday and runs until 5 June, is successful, strikes could begin in the autumn.

The poll will open on Wednesday and close on October 5. If members vote in favour of strike action, the union could call a walkout as early as next month.

The government said it was “disappointing” that the NAHT had decided to ballot for industrial action.

A spokeswoman for Education said: “We have increased the core schools budget by £4.6 billion in real terms since 2016, and headteachers’ pay has risen by 6.5% over three years, meaning salaries are now at an all-time high of almost £60,000 outside London.

“This is in addition to a new £140 million cash injection to help headteachers cover additional pension costs this year – on top of the extra £1 billion we are already providing for pensions next year.”

The NAHT represents around 28,000 school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The National Education Union (NEU), which represents teachers, has also said it is consulting its members on industrial action over pay and funding.

The union’s joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The education crisis is deepening by the day, and the government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand.”

What do you think about this story? Let us know in the comments below.

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