Teachers to take industrial action this month
By Mark Smulian | 10 September 2012
The two largest teaching unions in England and Wales are set to take industrial action later this month in response to what they say are attacks on the profession by the government.
The National Union of Teachers and National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers
made the move in a dispute concerning pay, pensions, workload, conditions of service and job losses.
Action short of a strike will commence from September 26, the unions revealed today. Together, they claim to represent 90% of teaching staff in England and Wales.
Any action would be ‘intended to be pupil, parent and public-friendly, while resisting government policies which are undermining teachers’ ability to work effectively to deliver the highest standards of education’, the unions said.
This would include restrictions on participation in appraisals and classroom observation, refusal to take part in mock inspections and non-cooperation with any Ofsted inspections commissioned by the school or local authority.
Teachers will also not submit lesson plans to senior managers, or answer email correspondence outside working hours.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: ‘Teachers’ morale is dangerously low. Over-the-top accountability measures are exhausting teachers and the idea that they can work to 68 is absurd.
‘For the sake of teachers and children’s education, these constant attacks from government need to stop.’
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said education secretary Michael Gove had shown ‘contempt for the teaching workforce’.
The unions announced an ‘historic agreement’ to join forces to ‘defend education’ in May.
Today’s announcement follows NUT members’ vote for industrial action on Friday. The NASUWT already has a mandate for strikes from a ballot held last November, which backed industrial action to ‘protect educational standards’.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said ministers were ‘very disappointed' the unions had chosen to take action.
‘Only a tiny minority of their members voted in favour but it will damage the profession’s reputation. Parents will be especially concerned that union chiefs have called on their members to only send one school report home a year.
'The NUT and NASUWT are taking industrial action about pay and working conditions before the independent pay review body has made any recommendations,’ she added.