Schools across the UK are set to strike again in the coming weeks as members of the National Education Union voted to reject the government’s pay offer. Strikes are planned for April 27 and May 2. With a turnout of 66 percent, 98 percent of members voted against the wage offer.
Teachers were offered a one-off £1,000 bonus this year and a 4.3 per cent pay rise next year.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan described the wage offer as “fair and reasonable”.
She said the government has gone “as far as we can” with the negotiations.
The strikes come weeks before the start of GCSE and A Level exams.
Kevin Courney, general secretary of the NEU, said the union was “unsubscribing” Ms Keegan.
He warned the government that the union has support for future strikes.
The NEU executive has agreed to seek “local agreements” with headteachers in an effort to protect exam preparation for Years 11 and 13, but has declined to rule out disruption.
Courtney urged parents to “put pressure on MPs” to get them to pressure Keegan to step in to give teachers a better deal.
He said, “We’re not going away…our campaign isn’t going away.”
Reacting to the teachers’ decision to strike, the education secretary said: “After taking children almost a week in class and exams fast approaching, it is extremely disappointing that the NEU has announced more strike action.
“After a week of negotiating in good faith, the government offered teachers a payment of £1,000 on top of this year’s pay rise, a commitment to significantly reduce workload and a 4.5 per cent overall pay rise for next year – above both inflation as average income growth.
“The offer was funded, including a major new investment of over half a billion pounds, in addition to record funding already planned for school budgets.
“NEU’s decision to reject it today will simply lead to more disruption for children and less money for teachers. Wages are now determined by the independent wage review body which will recommend wage increases for next year.”
UPDATES TO FOLLOW…