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Teachers have begun a series of strikes and work-to-rules in protest at a new contract which introduces merit payments but which fails to keep salaries in line with inflation. The action is being promoted by the teachers' union SNALS, 92 per cent of whose 70,000 members oppose the contract.

Under new legislation to safeguard essential services strikes cannot last for more than two days, while short, (eg one-hour) strikes can only be called for the first or last hour of the school day.

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