Teacher strikes

NEU votes to hear pay offer before balloting for strikes

Conference rejects proposal for a ballot to start in early June

Conference rejects proposal for a ballot to start in early June

Members of the National Education Union have voted to wait to hear the teachers’ pay offer for September before moving to a formal strikes ballot.

An amended motion, passed this morning at the union’s annual conference in Bournemouth, instructed its executive to “intensify campaigning and mobilising our members prior to the government’s pay offer and funding settlement for 2024-25”. 

The union should then “present the pay and funding offer to members in a snap poll, and if rejected with a convincing turnout, move to a formal ballot”.

The government usually publishes the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body, along with its decision on whether to accept them, at the end of the summer term.

Daniel Kebede, the union’s general secretary, said they had “put this government, and any new government that follows it, on notice”.

“We will move to a formal strike ballot in England and Wales if and when necessary to save our schools and colleges.”

“This decision is a clear message to Gillian Keegan. If you want to fix the urgent recruitment and retention crisis and support schools and colleges to meet the rising tide of pupil needs, you must meet with the NEU to directly discuss the question of pay and funding.

Delegates reject June ballot

Delegates rejected an amendment that called on the union to “launch, no later than the first week in June, a national strike ballot on funding and pay, to close before the end of September”.

A ballot held in June would likely have gone ahead without an understanding of what the pay award will be for September.

The union is unlikely to want to hold a postal ballot over the summer holidays, so the decision today potentially pushes any potential vote into the autumn term.

Unions fear ministers are gearing up to make an offer of just 1 or 2 per cent, after education secretary Gillian Keegan told the STRB that teacher pay awards should return to a “more sustainable level” than seen in the last two years.

The Department for Education said it believes there is only headroom in budgets for the next financial year for schools to raise overall spending by 1.2 per cent, or £600 million.

Ministers have previously estimated that each 1 percentage point increase in teacher pay costs about £270 million – meaning the headroom would only allow for a pay rise of around 2 per cent.

Kebede calls for talks to avoid ‘collision course’

Speaking to journalists, Kebede said Gillian Keegan “needs to prevent any collision course”.

“I’m very open to start talks now to prevent us having to move to a formal ballot at a later date.”

He said Keegan had agreed as part of last year’s 6.5 per cent pay settlement to publish the STRB’s recommendations and the government response earlier.

But the education secretary “has been frustrating the process”. The government’s remit to the STRB was published just days before Christmas, and the DfE missed its deadline for submitted its own evidence to the body.

“Should we end up with a 1 or 2 per cent award made early in next term or before the summer holidays, I can’t rule out a ballot being opened beforehand. These are questions for the national executive really, not me.”

He would not put a figure on what pay rise the union would demand, but said it would “need to make a meaningful step towards correction in teachers’ pay”.

More from this theme

Teacher strikes

Teachers could strike again in September, says NEU leader

Ballot should be held over 'fairly significant' period if conference green-lights formal vote, says Daniel Kebede

Freddie Whittaker
Teacher strikes

NASUWT: 78% reject move to formal pay strike ballot

'Political campaigning to secure a government prepared to fix the damage...must now be the priority'

Freddie Whittaker
Teacher strikes

NEU indicative ballot: Members back strike action over pay

Executive will meet next week to discuss next steps after 9 in 10 back walkouts on a turnout of...

Freddie Whittaker
Teacher strikes

Revealed: NEU strikes plan to push for ‘national contract’

Union also wants removal of clause requiring teachers to work 'reasonable additional hours' from pay and conditions

Freddie Whittaker
Teacher strikes

Largest trust would shun ‘inflammatory’ new strike laws

Minimum service levels 'likely to be self-defeating in practice', warns United Learning

Freddie Whittaker
Teacher strikes

NASUWT plans consultative ballot over pay and workload

Teachers' union says it will 'take forward its campaigning, up to and including industrial action, to secure a better...

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

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

One comment

  1. Maria Baskerville

    Teachers pay is unsustainable for school budgets. Employing schools have to fork out a further 28.68 % of Teachers gross pay towards their pension. This is all tax payer money how is that fair?