Politics

NEU pencils in teacher and support staff strikes for early 2023

Ballots for strike action among teachers and support staff will open next week, union confirms

Ballots for strike action among teachers and support staff will open next week, union confirms

NEU members vote to reject pay offer

The National Education Union has said strikes over pay and funding are “likely” to take place from the end of January next year if approved in a national ballot of its members.

The NEU is the first union to announce a likely date for strike action to start. The NAHT school leaders’ union and NASUWT teaching union have both also announced formal ballots of members.

All three unions have criticised government pay proposals which equate to a 5 per cent rise for the majority of teachers and leaders. A separate proposal for a £1,925 increase for support staff has also been rejected.

The NEU confirmed its plans for a ballot last week after indicative ballots showed 86 per cent of teacher members and 78 per cent of support staff members supported a strike, on turnouts of 62 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.

The union announced today that formal ballots, which will ask if members are prepared to take strike action, will open on October 28 and close on January 13. Ballots will go out to around 300,000 teachers and support staff in England and Wales.

Dates for potential strike action “are yet to be decided, but likely to be from week commencing January 30, 2023”. 

‘Our members have been undervalued for too long’

Joint general secretaries Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted said the latest financial statement from the chancellor “will do nothing to quell the anger of teachers and support staff as they face yet another real-terms pay cut”.

“The strength of feeling should not be underestimated. Pay, along with workload, lays at the root of a recruitment and retention crisis which should be of deep concern to the government, but about which they have been completely ineffective.

“Our members are reluctant to strike – they want to be in school teaching children – but they have been undervalued for too long.”

NASUWT announced last week that ballot papers would be issued to its members from October 27, and that the vote would close on January 9.

A DfE spokesperson said it was “incredibly disappointing that some unions are threatening industrial action in schools”.

“Strike action will damage children’s education and disrupt parents’ lives. Given the impact of the pandemic on children, it’s more important than ever that strike action is avoided.

“We have confirmed the highest pay awards for teachers in a generation – 8.9 percent for new teachers and five percent for experienced teachers and leaders – recognising their dedication and hard work.”

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