The two largest teacher unions, the NUT and NASUWT, representing nine out of 10 teachers in England and Wales, are to stage a series of strikes this year.
The joint industrial action, in defence of pay, pensions and working conditions, will start in the summer term, in an escalation of months of joint action short of a strike.
The unions yesterday announced the next phase of their coordinated campaign to Protect Teachers and Defend Education.
They stated that following the refusal of the Secretary of State to genuinely engage with them to seek to resolve trade disputes with him, plans are in place for the next stage of industrial action which will include:
• continuation of the current action short of strike action instructions;
• national rallies across England and Wales in April and May;
• escalation of the national action short of strike action;
• a rolling programme of national strikes commencing with local authority areas in the North West of England on 27 June; and
• unless the Secretary of State responds positively to the unions’ demands, a rolling programme of strike action will continue into the Autumn term and will include a one day all-out national strike before the end of the Autumn term.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: ‘The time has come for the Secretary of State to listen to the concerns of teachers and school leaders.
‘He has recklessly pursued a relentless attack on the profession and teachers’ patience has been exhausted.
‘The Secretary of State still has time to avoid widespread disruption in schools by responding positively and quickly to the reasonable demands we are making.’
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said: ‘We have already rejected the new pension arrangements and the proposed deregulation of teachers’ pay.
‘The attacks on pay and pensions in combination with increasing workload is making teaching an unsustainable option for many.
‘The resolution to all the aspects of our dispute with the Secretary of State is in his hands.
‘He can respond positively and engage with us to seek a way forward.
‘If there is no positive response to our reasonable demands, the joint strike action we are announcing today is inevitable.’
The NUT and NASUWT have put the following list of demands to the Secretary of State for Education:
l. Commit to genuine engagement in a dispute resolution process by establishing a series of meetings in the summer term 2013 with the NASUWT and NUT chaired by himself to address the issues under dispute;
2. Suspend the implementation of the changes proposed to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, pending the outcome of these discussions;
3. Publish the valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme conducted on the basis of the 2010 criteria and factors.