Teachers’ union could be next to announce strikes on Monday as wave of industrial action continues

Teachers on the picket line in Scotland (PA)
Teachers on the picket line in Scotland (PA)

A teachers' union could be next to announce strikes as a wave of industrial action continues to sweep across the country.

The results of a National Education Union (NEU) ballot will be announced on Monday evening after members voted on strike action to win an above-inflation pay rise.

The NEU has said walkouts in England and Wales could begin at the end of the month after more than 300,000 teachers and support staff were asked to vote.

The union said one in eight teaches leave the profession after just a year in the classroom.

“In July, the government offered most teachers a 5 per cent pay rise – in reality a 7 per cent pay cut due to the soaring level of inflation,” NEU said.

“To add insult to injury the pay offer is not fully funded. Add to this a decline of more than 20 per cent in real terms pay for teachers over the past decade and educators are leaving the profession in their droves.”

Results of the ballot will be announced at 5pm.

NEU general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said she thinks the threshold for strike action in their current ballot will be met.

Speaking to Sky News on Monday, she said: “From our own internal polling, I think that we will meet the threshold but I can’t be sure.”

Dr Bousted added that it would be “highly unlikely” that strike action would take place during the exam period.

“And even if there was strike action on an exam day actually there would covering for the children to do the exams and all the work has been done prior to that,” she said.

“But I think that’s a huge step and I think it’s highly unlikely.”

Last week the NASUWT teachers union had a voter turnout below the legal threshold, meaning there were not enough votes to support a strike over pay from its members.

While nine out of 10 members voted to strike, the turnout was 42 per cent, below the required 50 per cent.

NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said: “It is clear that our members are sending a strong message to the Government on the need to address teachers’ pay concerns.”

Teachers in Scotland began 16 days of rolling strike action on Monday. Teachers in two of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas walking out each day until February 6.

Meanwhile in England, members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will walk out on Wednesday and Thursday and the union has warned that if progress is not made in negotiations by the end of January the next set of strikes will include all eligible members in England for the first time.

The Government continues to insist that pay claims are unaffordable and is sticking to its belief that wage rises should be decided by pay review bodies.

Health unions are refusing to submit any evidence to the NHS pay review body for the 2023/24 pay rise until the current dispute is resolved.

GMB leaders will meet on Monday to decide whether to call more strikes among their ambulance members because of the lack of progress in talks.

Any decision is likely to be announced later in the week.

A strike will be held on Wednesday by Unison members at the Environment Agency in a dispute over pay.

Talks will continue between rail unions and train operators in a fresh attempt to resolve the long-running row which has led to a series of strikes since last summer.

Both sides say they are working towards a revised offer.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is pressing ahead with a strike on February 1 by 100,000 civil servants which will have an impact on governments, driving test centres, museums, ports and airports.

The TUC is organising a series of protests on February 1 against the Government’s controversial proposed new law on strikes.

Planned legislation aimed at ensuring minimum levels of service during strikes will receive its Second Reading in Parliament on Monday.

A demonstration will be held outside Downing Street to protest against the Government’s move.

PCS members working as legal advisers and court associates in more than 80 courts across England and Wales are also to take further strike action in a long-running dispute about a case management system called Common Platform.

Around 300 PCS members will take action on January 21 and January 28.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “As long as managers continue to ignore our members, our members will continue to resist the unworkable Common Platform system and fight for the integrity of the entire justice system.”