England's biggest teaching union is on the brink of rolling industrial action. As the economy worsens teachers and support staff are leading the push for a new wave of walkouts across the public sector.
National Union of Teachers executive members, meeting today, hope to agree a timetable for further strikes and stop-work meetings by teachers.
If approved through a ballot of members, this will see the action take place in November.
Next week at the annual Trades Union Congress in Brighton, the NUT will call for coordinated industrial action.
The NUT represents nearly 250,000 teachers and headteachers. It has the support of Unison, which represents 200,000 school support staff, and the Public and Commercial Services Union. Roger King, the NUT's general secretary in Birmingham, said the financial situation of teachers had worsened since the last strike in April.
"We are very angry," he said. "What is happening to the economy is hitting everyone, and year on year, teachers' pay is being eroded." Dave Harvey, executive member for outer London, is confident that the executive will agree to an October ballot for action. He said teachers were motivated by inflation, the Government's refusal to negotiate, and industrial action elsewhere in the public sector.
When NUT members went on strike on April 24 this year, 9,500 schools in England and Wales were affected. An estimated 2.7 million pupils got the day off school.
Teachers this month received a pay rise of 2.45 per cent - but retail price index inflation hit five per cent last month, its highest level since July 1991.