UK teachers set for first national strike in 21 years

Members of the National Union of Teachers are set to take part in the first national teachers strike in 21 years in response to the government's failure to keep pay-rises in-line with the rate of inflation.

Submitted by Choccy on April 1, 2008

After four years of below-inflation pay increases, up to 200,000 members of one of the biggest UK teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), are set to strike on April 24th. The membership voted for a one-day walkout. 75% of those voting were in favour of a one-day walkout, with 25% against. Turnout for the vote was 32%.

NUT's last national strike was under Margaret Thatcher's goverment in 1987. This latest call for industrial action is in response to the proposed 2.45% pay-rise, which, while above the 2% cap prime minister Gordon Brown called-for on public sector pay increases, falls below the current 4.1% rate of inflation. Teachers says the propsed 2.45% increase reflects a siginificant cut in the standard of living for both primary and secondary level teachers.

NUT members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the campaign to stop cuts in the real pay of teachers.
The government is wrong to determine a pay increase for teachers below the rate of inflation. The rate of inflation is presently 4.1% and teachers will receive for 2008 2.45%.
The consequences of real term pay cuts are familiar to us. They were a feature of the 'boom and bust' years before 1997. In that period schools suffered from recruitment and retention problems - there were teacher shortages and morale was low. The NUT wants no return to those bad old days.
I call on the government to think again and ensure that salaries at least keep pay in line with inflation and that there is a recognition of the continuing workload pressures on teachers."

- Steve Sinnott (NUT general secretary)

The 2% cap urged by Gordon Brown is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI, 2.1%), while teachers wanted the pay-rises to be matched to the Retail Price Index (RPI, 4.1%), which takes into account prices of housing, mortgage rates and is a more accurate reflection of actual costs of living. Many new teachers are facing student loan repayments, the interest-rates of which were matched to RPI - this has further angered teachers.

Other teaching unions, such as the NASUWT had previously accepted the proposed 2.45% rise, having perceived it as favourable in comparison with other public-sector workers who received a 1.9% rise. NASUWT "leader" Chris Keates suggests a priority for their members is excessive workload, not pay.



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Submitted by Steven. on April 1, 2008

we've been talking about how to support this at my work - local govt UNISON. basically if the heads say ok no kids will come in, it's fine to walk past the pickets and sit about doing nothing all day. If they try to bring kids in then people shouldn't cross picket lines. workers who are parents should say their childcare pulled out at the last minute and get dependency leave.