Teacher unions ready to vote if wages don’t rise

Two key teachers’ unions are considering a member vote on the strike unless a substantial pay increase is offered.

The National Education Union (NEU) said a letter will be sent to Education Minister Nadhim Zahavi on Wednesday saying the union is ready to vote for its members unless a wage increase is offered in line with inflation.

However, the vote will not be announced until Mr. Zahavi responds to the findings of the Schoolteachers’ Watch Body report, which is expected to be released at the end of the school year.

The union said there would be a preliminary tentative vote followed by a formal vote if the first result showed members supported the strike.

NASUWT leaders also called for a 12% increase in teacher salaries this year and said they would vote to strike members in England, Wales and Scotland if his demands were not met.

Salaries for 2022/23 are due in November.

According to NASUWT, two out of three teachers are wondering if it’s worth changing careers because of salaries, and the cost of teachers’ salaries has fallen by 20%.

Dr. Mary Busted, fellow NEU Secretary General, said: “The case for a better deal for teachers will be fully set out this Wednesday in our letter to the Secretary of State.

“If this is left unaddressed and teachers are offered a salary increase well below inflation, then we will move on to a show vote of our members.

“Teachers are tired of the government, which simply does not appreciate them.

“The combination of long working hours, the intensity of those hours, and the ever-falling wage levels is hurting our schools and the young people we teach.

“The government has so far been unwilling to recognize and properly pay for the work of teachers.

“Teacher salaries have fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010.

“We need a pay deal for all teachers that recognizes this reality.”

Dr. Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT, said: “The country is facing an existential emergency for the future of the teaching profession.

“Teachers are suffering not only from the cost-of-living crisis that the entire country is fighting, but also from 12 years of real-world wage cuts that have cut their wages by 20%.

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NASUWT General Secretary Patrick Roach (Simon Booth/NASUWT)

“If the government and the pay review body reject a positive teacher recovery program, then we will ask our members if they are ready to accept nationwide retaliatory strikes.

“The government mistakenly believed that teachers would just stand by while they cut salaries and ripped our education system to its core.

“But this weekend, thousands of teachers from all over the UK came together to show our strength, unity and determination to stand up and fight back.

“Our message is clear and has now been delivered directly to the government on the doorstep.

“We will not allow our members to have their pay cut and their pensions attacked.

“If wage increases are not secured, our members in the workplace will get them through strikes.”

The NASUWT was a prominent group at a large rally organized by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Saturday, in which thousands of protesters marched through central London demanding higher wages and working conditions.