NASUWT teacher strike ballot fails to meet turnout threshold

Nine in 10 voted in favour of strikes, but turnout was 42%, below the legal requirement

Nine in 10 voted in favour of strikes, but turnout was 42%, below the legal requirement

A ballot of teachers in the NASUWT trade union has failed to meet the turnout threshold for strike action, despite broad support from those who did vote.

Although around nine in 10 members voting in the ballot supported strikes and action short of a strike, turnout nationally was just 42 per cent, below the threshold of 50 per cent required by law.

In the ballot of state school staff in England, 88.5 per cent of voted in favour of strikes and 94.1 per cent voted in favour of action short of the strike, but the turnout figure means neither can go ahead.

Overall, the figures mean only around 37 per cent of eligible members voted to strike.

Since 2016, unions have had to reach a turnout threshold of 50 per cent, and secure yes votes from 40 per cent of eligible members in order to win ballots for action in the public sector.

However, NASUWT also carried out ballots in independent schools on a “disaggregated” basis, and said it had secured mandates for industrial action at 125 settings in England.

Anti-strike law prevents action, says union boss

General secretary Dr Patrick Roach said it was “clear that our members are sending a strong message to the government on the need to address teachers’ pay concerns”.

“Whilst the government’s anti-trade union legislation prevents members in state funded schools and colleges from taking industrial action, we remain in formal disputes with ministers and employers and will be continuing to take forward our campaigning for a better deal for teachers.”

He said the readiness of members to support industrial action “demonstrates the anger of the profession and the need for governments in England and Wales to engage in meaningful negotiations to address the deep concerns of our members”.

“Our campaign to fight for the real terms pay awards that teachers and headteachers deserve continues.”

Some union members have complained on Twitter that they did not receive their ballots, with complications linked to the postal vote strikes.

All eyes are now on the NAHT school leaders’ union, whose ballot closed yesterday, and the National Education Union, which is balloting members until tomorrow. Both results are expected on Monday.

A Department for Education spokesperson said “families will be relieved that these teachers did not choose to strike”. 

More from this theme


Hinds says ‘all schools’ restrict phones, and 5 more key findings

Schools minister also says the 'option' of statutory mobile phone guidance remains

Freddie Whittaker

CST calls for policy changes over ‘unsustainable’ parent complaints

Academy body says rise in complaints is putting 'significant pressure on school leaders’

Jack Dyson

Poverty: Trusts spend six-figure sums to support ‘crisis’ families

News comes amid calls for chancellor Jeremy Hunt to hand out more education cash in next week's budget

Jack Dyson

Heads and teachers working longer despite workload push

Key government workforce survey reveals longer working weeks, less job satisfaction and more anxiety

Samantha Booth

Number of children ‘missing education’ rises a quarter

117,000 children were not registered at a school and not receiving a suitable education elsewhere at some point last...

Freddie Whittaker

‘Elite’ Star and Eton sixth forms reveal ‘clearing house’ careers role

Partnership between academy trust and top private school also opens new 'think and do' tank

Schools Week Reporter

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Mrs glenys richards

    Well done to those proper teachers not going on strike but having a thought for their children who will have even more damage inflicted upon their learning surely coveid was bad enough. How selfish of these lefty greedy me me me teachers who dont see how fortunate they are. Short hours, good pay, good pension, early retirement, long holidays, free updating, endless sick pay. What about the parents of the state educated children in your classes many of them on the mininum wage, been working since 16 yrs old and will be until 66 yrs old. Also enduring cost of living increases too. Only get 4 wks holiday pay, worki weekends, bank holidays, only statutory sick pay, pay taxes and would like their kids to be educated better than themselves. These children only get ONE childhood and one chance of an education. Put those childrens needs before your own.

    • Ah yes, blame the workers not the Government. It is so shameful after 12 years of effective pay cuts that people should be demanding more money for jobs with declining working conditions and increasing workloads while the government have given away billions of tax payers money to their chums for dodgy contracts making Conservative donors very wealthy. Perhaps talk to teachers about what the job entails rather than getting your “facts” from the Daily Mail? Just a thought.
      The government are doing everything they can to make sure those people in the frontline (Nurses, Firemen, Ambulance drivers, Teachers etc.) have their right to strike removed, to shut them up so they can pay even less and farm out public sector contracts to their peers through privatisation. Labelling people as “lefty” for wanting more money is just daft as historically the Conservatives have always been about getting more money by any means necessary!

    • Aron Rowe

      Sorry I can’t let this pass unchallenged. Regardless of what union action is or isn’t taken. The vast vast majority of teachers spend their entire working time thinking of their children that they teach. Not all of course, but the majority do and they do what is best for them regularly.

      I’m going to address some of the things you have said. So firstly, short hours. Teachers do not have short hours, we work incredibly long hours and work, on average, more unpaid hours than any other profession. I’m not going to dispute we get a good pension because we absolutely do but we earn that and our contributions to that pension have gone up, so we don’t get as good as what previous teaching generations have done.

      Secondly, long holidays. This is a myth which has stood the test of time. I know very few teachers that don’t do some form of work in most of the “holidays” they have, extra revision sessions, planning, marking. Again not to say all teachers do this, but most do some of this and a large minority work endlessly through the holidays.

      Thirdly, endless sick pay. This simply isn’t true. Nothing more to it.

      Teachers put their children’s needs above their own many times a day, every day. We support those families you describe. So whatever you think of teachers who did or did not vote for strike action, dont you dare ever demonise the profession. Teachers are hardworking, dedicated and care deeply about the pupils they teach. That is not at odds with wanting a better pay (which has been cut by 23% since 2010) and better conditions in school. Better pay will bring in better quality teachers so pupils benefit from that. While better conditions mean teachers are in a position to be able to give more time to pupils to help them achieve their dreams. I hope this gives you pause for thought.

  2. After 12 years of pay cuts it is a shame that people in the union didn’t stand up to the government, but I guess when you are trapped in an abusive relationship it is difficult to fight for your rights. Many of my friends who are teachers don’t want to strike but can’t see any other way of improving their lot as this government will never support the public services. Teachers are leaving the profession in large numbers (along with Nurses), because 12 years of pay cuts and effective reduction in funding to their schools is enough. Maybe people should start looking at the government as the cause of their problems rather than those striking?