The National Union of Teachers (NUT) voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favour of holding a one-day strike in England and Wales in the week beginning 23rd June.
The union’s conference in Brighton also decided to consult members on further action as part of the long-running campaign over teachers pay and workload.
Delegates at the conference agreed that unless ‘significant progress’ is made in talks with the government, there will be another national strike in the summer term, following last month’s successful one-day NUT strike on 26th March.
The conference called for a pay deal which would make up for ‘cuts in pay suffered by teachers since 2010’. The vote opens the door for an escalation of the dispute, with a decision to consult union members about more strikes in the autumn term and into 2015.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: ‘The National Union of Teachers has confirmed the next stages of its campaign to Stand up for Education and the teaching profession.
‘The union will be engaging with parents and the general public, pressuring politicians and, if significant progress is not made in talks with government, the union will be taking strike action and seeking to coordinate with other unions in late June, including with NASUWT.
‘Early next term the union will seek volunteers amongst its members to lobby MPs and to run street stalls to engage with the public. The union will demand that (education secretary) Michael Gove attends talks with the unions to discuss his education policies, on workload and accountability, teacher pay including performance related pay and his unfair pension changes.
‘If the strike happens it will be Michael Gove’s fault. Teacher morale is at a dangerously low ebb. Changes to pay, pensions and a working week for many teachers of 60 hours are driving many out of the classroom.
‘According to Ofsted, two in five teachers leave the profession within five years of starting teaching. Ministers must act on workload, as well as pay and pensions to halt this. Parents share our concerns about this government’s chaotic approach to school place planning and the wasteful free schools programme.
‘Millions of pounds are being spent on new free schools where there is often not a need and many areas have a looming school places crisis.’
She went on: ‘Filling our classrooms with unqualified people is not the solution. Parents agree, as the NUT commissioned YouGov survey shows. 82% of parents believe publicly-funded schools should only employ qualified teachers and 80% would not want their child to attend a school that did not require its teachers to have professional teaching qualifications.
‘The lobby of Parliament on 10 June will send a clear message to MPs that teachers will not be silenced.’