NUT members vote for strike action
By Richard Johnstone | 7 September 2012
Members of the National Union of Teachers have voted to take strike action over what the union claims has been an ‘onslaught of attacks on the teaching profession’ by the government.
In the result of a ballot announced today 82.5% of members voted to strike, on a 27% turnout. Over 90% of members voted for action short of a strike.
The union will reveal the next steps for any action on Monday. This will be coordinated with the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, after the unions agreed to work together to ‘defend education’.
The NUT says teachers pay and employment conditions are being eroded by the government, and members are also unhappy about reforms to public sector pension schemes.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said that the union was left with ‘no option but to take action to protect the well-being of our members and restore their rights to do their job thoroughly and properly’.
She added: ‘Teachers are being undermined by a Government whose almost daily criticisms and erosion of working conditions and pay, coming on top of previous attacks on pensions, are unacceptable. This negative approach to the profession has to stop.’
Together the NUT and NASUWT represent 85% of teachers in England and Wales.
The NASUWT already has a mandate for strikes from a ballot held last November, which backed industrial action to ‘protect educational standards’.
General secretary Chris Keates welcomed the NUT’s ballot result.
‘This result is the reflection of two years of sustained assault from the government which has been deeply damaging to teacher morale, as well as to recruitment and retention,’ she said.
‘On Monday the NASUWT will be setting out jointly with the NUT the next steps to defend teachers from attacks on their pay, pensions, workload, working conditions and jobs.’
Responding to today’s results, a Department for Education spokeswoman said: ‘We are very disappointed that a small minority of NUT members has voted this way. Industrial action would disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and will damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.
‘Parents and members of the public will struggle to understand why the NUT chose to ballot their members now about pay and working conditions when decisions about future pay arrangements have yet to be made.’