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”.