Four unions representing hundreds of thousands of teachers and leaders have urged members to hold joint staff meetings in all schools to boost their ballots for strike action.
Leadership unions the NAHT and ASCL, along with the NASUWT teaching union and National Education Union, have written to their members today to encourage the meetings.
They warned they were “now in a battle for the very future of education”, urging members to “stand with your colleagues and join us as we strive to bring about real change.”
All four unions are balloting members for strike action over pay, funding and other issues facing their members, and have pledged to coordinate walkouts in the autumn term if they are successful.
The letter calls for staff meetings of all members eligible to vote in any of the ballots to be held in the week beginning June 19 “to discuss how to maximise turnout and encourage members to return their ballot papers”.
The unions’ five leaders wrote that they had “worked incredibly hard to engage with the government” on the issues in its dispute “but it simply refuses to listen”.
“We believe that a mandate for industrial action across all of our unions is the only way we can get your voice heard. In an almost unprecedented show of solidarity, all four of our unions have agreed to work together on this campaign.
“This shows not just the sense of unity among the profession but also our determination to make sure this government starts to engage properly with us in order to address these crucial issues.”
‘Show your solidarity for one another’
They added that it was “absolutely essential we all work together to ensure everyone eligible casts their vote. This really is a time to stand together and stand up for the profession.
“Whether you are in the same union or in different unions, these staff meetings will provide a perfect opportunity to come together and show your solidarity for one another in this ongoing campaign.”
It comes as the government continues to resist calls to publish the recommendations of the school teachers’ review body. The main proposal – for a 6.5 per cent pay rise – was leaked to the media in May, but the full report, which is usually published in July, remains under-wraps.
Responding to a Parliamentary question from shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson, schools minister Nick Gibb said his department was “considering the recommendations and will publish its response in the usual way, in due course”.
Phillipson said it was “extraordinary that the government is still refusing to publish the report of the school teachers’ review body”.
“The government knows the findings. Journalists know the findings. But ministers refuse to share them with teachers and parents.”