The teacher’s strikes, set to take place in England, Scotland and Wales on the 5th of November 2020, have been a long time coming. They are part of a wider campaign for better pay and working conditions that have been ongoing since 2019.
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In February 2020, the government offered teachers’ unions a 3.1% pay rise for all teachers in England and Wales over two years and £10m additional funding for school leaders struggling with workload pressures. However, this was rejected by the National Education Union (NEU), which believes it fails to address underlying issues such as regional disparity across different areas of the country regarding education budgets.
The NEU is calling on the government to provide a 5% pay rise for all teachers, in line with inflation, and an extra £1.6bn to address the inequality of education budgets between different areas of the country. They are also demanding more funding to deal with severe workload pressures and to ensure that staff can access professional development opportunities, which have been restricted due to budget cuts since 2010.
The upcoming strikes will be the first time since 2016 that teachers in England, Scotland and Wales have taken strike action on such a large scale. The NEU hopes their collective action will force the government to make changes to improve pay and working conditions for all teaching staff nationwide. It remains to be seen whether their efforts will be successful; however, the teacher’s strike will undoubtedly be an important moment in the ongoing fight for education reform.
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