Teachers’ strike would be unfair after pandemic disruption, says Nadhim Zahavi

Teachers who went on strike would be “inexcusable,” said Nadhim Zahavi, as the largest teachers’ union warned of a strike over wages and workload.

The education minister said such a move would be “irresponsible” in the wake of the disruption to children’s education caused by the pandemic.

This comes after the National Education Union (NEU) said it would consult with its members in the fall, “strongly urging them” to support the strike if the government did not respond to its concerns in the next few months.

Young people have suffered more than any generation before themNadhim Zahavi

Mr Zahavi wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “Young people have been through more upheaval than any generation before them and to make it worse now that recovery is in full swing and families are thinking about their next big step after school or college would be unforgivable.” and unfair.”

The union said wage cuts and high workloads are hurting the recruitment and retention of teachers, causing “real damage” to education.

He criticized the government’s figures to the Schoolteachers’ Review Board suggesting a 3% pay rise for most teachers in England, which he said would mean a “huge” pay cut based on Wednesday’s 9.1% inflation data. in terms of CPI and 11.7% for RPI.

NEU Deputy Secretary General Niamh Sweeney told Sky News on The Take with Sophy Ridge that a teachers’ strike is “more likely than in all my 20 years in the profession.”

“Teachers tell us they’re having a hard time making it to the end of the month, their heating and fuel bills mean they’re struggling to survive.”

In a letter to Mr. Zahavi, the union called for a fully funded inflation-adjusted salary increase for all teachers, as well as action to pay other employees such as support staff and workload reduction measures.

The minister was told that teachers’ salaries in real terms have fallen by a fifth since 2010, even before inflation rises this year, while their workload remains at “unsustainable” levels.

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Education Secretary Nadhim Zahavi says strike would be ‘unfair’ (Victoria Jones/PA)

The letter states: “Along with the decline in teachers’ salaries in real terms compared to inflation, they also declined in relative terms compared to earnings.

“The average teacher salary is at its lowest level compared to the average salary in the economy for more than 40 years.

“Teachers and school leaders often tell us that their biggest concern is workload.

“But right now, our members are telling us that payment is also a big issue.

“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.

“Teachers look at their working hours and their salaries and calculate hourly rates which are alarming.

“The latest data on teacher training is very disturbing; applications fell by 24% compared to last year.

“One in eight newly qualified teachers quit their jobs in their first year of teaching.

“These young people often get a degree and then qualify in graduate school.

“They are a great loss to the profession, but more importantly to the country’s students who rely on their teachers to teach and care for them.

“You must respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat it poses to the standard of living of teachers.

“We urge you to commit to higher inflation for all teachers.

“It is not enough to offer higher allowances only for novice teachers (which themselves are likely to be below inflation).

“The current government inaction on these issues is causing real damage to the education and livelihoods of our members.

“We must inform you that if you do not take sufficient action, we will consult with our members during the fall semester about their readiness to take a strike.

“And we will urge them to vote yes.

“We can no longer stand by while you drive both education and educators crazy.”