Teacher strike warning as prices hit 40-year high

Largest teaching union warns it will ballot for strike action if members don’t receive a fully-funded inflation-plus pay rise
22nd June 2022, 10:45am

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Teacher strike warning as prices hit 40-year high

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/general/teacher-strike-warning-prices-hit-40-year-high
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The NEU teaching union has warned the education secretary it will ballot members over strike action in the autumn if the government fails to commit to a “fully-funded inflation-plus pay increase”, as inflation continues to rise.

The NEU joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney wrote to Nadhim Zahawi this morning calling for the pay rise for all teachers, as well as effective action on pay for other educators, including supply and support staff.

They said that “failing sufficient action”, the union will consult its members in the autumn term “on their willingness to take industrial action” and will be ”strongly encouraging them to vote yes”. 

It comes as the retail price index soared to 11.7 per cent and the consumer price index to 9.1 per cent. 

The letter to Mr Zahawi warns that the union has calculated “that teacher pay has fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010, even before the effects of this latest bout of inflation”.

They added that inflation had “increased dramatically” since the Department for Education’s evidence to the School Teacher’ Review Body (STRB), in which it suggested a 3 per cent pay rise for most of the teaching profession. 

The NEU said a “combination of unsustainable hours”, high “work intensity” and “ever-falling pay levels” are damaging schools and pupils.

They said Mr Zahawi could not “afford to turn away” from the low recruitment rates and high attrition of workers in the sector. 

“This attrition itself causes even more workload problems for remaining staff - in recruitment, induction, mentoring and training. 

“We can no longer stand by while you run both education and educators into the ground.”

Dr Bousted and Mr Courtney also urged the education secretary “to act on support and supply staff pay”, saying “they are among the lowest-paid staff in the public sector”. 

They called on Mr Zahawi to ”respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat this poses to teacher living standards”, saying it was “not good enough to only propose higher increases for beginner teachers (which are themselves likely to be lower than inflation)”. 

They said: “A clear and unambiguous signal that educators are valued, with undifferentiated inflation-plus pay increases for all teachers, is urgently needed. And you must fund schools accordingly.” 

NASUWT teaching union leaders have also called for a 12 per cent pay increase for teachers this year and said it will ballot members in England, Wales and Scotland for industrial action if its demands are not met.

Covid retention boost over

Earlier this month, DfE data revealed that teacher retention rates were beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Data released today by the DfE showed an increase in the number of new teachers leaving the sector after one year from 11.7 per cent in 2019 to 12.5 per cent in 2020.

And it showed retention rates had risen for teachers between two and six years after qualifying but had fallen for those between seven and 12 years.

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