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NUT could hold national strike in June, with more action in autumn

The NUT could hold its second national strike of the year in June if talks with the government fail to yield significant concessions.

Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Brighton will tomorrow debate a motion to hold a national strike over pay, pensions and working conditions in the week beginning Monday 23 June.

A one-day strike would be most likely, but longer action would also be possible under the wording of the motion, which also reveals that the date could move if other unions agreed to take joint action.

A programme of further strike action could also continue into the autumn term. While no specific plans have yet been finalised, TES understands that an amendment with more concrete proposals for strikes after the summer is likely to be submitted by the union’s Local Associations for National Action Conference group.

At a press conference this afternoon, general secretary Christine Blower revealed that the proposed action had been timed to avoid exam season. Several GCSE and A-level papers are scheduled to take place on 23 and 24 June, but Ms Blower said the union would time action to avoid affecting exams.

Deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney claimed that strikes last autumn had led to the School Teachers’ Review Body rejecting education secretary Michael Gove's plans to overhaul teachers' working conditions and cut school holidays.

“As the strike action in October won things, we think we’ll see [more] things,” he said. “We’re in this talks process, we’ll be able to assess quite how much that pressure’s telling.”

The motion reveals that the NUT would look to engage with the NASUWT, which opted against taking part in the 26 March strike, but would also be prepared “to take strike action alone”.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates has made no firm commitment over industrial action, but has not ruled out taking part in further strikes if ongoing talks with Department for Education officials fail to yield a resolution to the dispute.

At the NUT’s press conference in Brighton, Mr Courtney said: “We think the teacher unions acting together is in the best interests of teachers so if we can find a way of acting together, we’ll be acting together.”

The NASUWT is also planning to debate the next phase of its industrial strategy at its conference in Birmingham this weekend.

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