NEU warns teacher strikes could last until next year ahead of general election if pay disputes unresolved
National Education Union (NEU) has warned teacher strikes could last until next year ahead of the general election.
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Teacher strikes could last until next year in the run-up to the general election, a union has warned. The National Education Union (NEU) said the move could give them “leverage” in their pay talks with the government, which remains unresolved as tens of thousands of staff walked out again on Tuesday (May 2).
Tuesday’s strike action saw 5% of schools across England close their doors, according to data received from the Department for Education. This was the sixth time members of the NEU have walked out this year.
Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary told The Times: “We are coming into an election year. If I were the government, I would want to resolve this before they get into that election year because they wouldn’t want head teachers and teachers talking to parents, telling the truth about the situation in schools where so many schools have stopped teaching computer science.”
The government has offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year and an average 4.5% pay rise next year. The NEU wants a fully funded, above-inflation rise for teachers and support staff.
Courtney said it was “very likely” that more strokes would go ahead in the summer term which may be coordinated with other unions. The NEU will re-ballot its members soon, while the Association of School and College Leaders is also due to hold a formal ballot for national strikes in England for the first time.
Last week, four major teaching unions warned all state schools in England may risk being closed by “unprecedented” coordinated strikes as part of their ongoing pay dispute with the government. The leaders of the unions said the latest move serves as a reminder that negotiations over pay and school funding need to be resumed.
The Department for Education said the threat of coordinated strikes was “unreasonable and disproportionate”. It said: “We have made a fair and reasonable teacher pay offer to the unions which recognises teachers’ hard work.”