The NUT conference has backed plans for a national strike in June, unless government talks lead to a breakthrough in the union’s protracted dispute over pay, working conditions and pensions.
Chants of “Gove must go!” echoed around the Brighton Centre as members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a national walkout in the week beginning Monday 23 June.
A stronger proposal committing the union to two further strikes of at least two days in the autumn term was rejected on Saturday.
Under the strategy agreed this morning, a one-day strike would be most likely, but longer action would also be possible. The date could move if other unions decide to come on board.
An amendment passed by delegates also called on the union’s executive to “consult with members about a series of strikes through the autumn term and into 2015”.
A pay claim “aimed at restoring the cuts in pay suffered by teachers since 2010” to be built into the action, it added.
Yesterday, the NASUWT left open the option of another joint national strike with the NUT this summer, but did not commit itself to a specific programme of action.
Before the votes were cast this morning, NUT president Max Hyde told the conference: “Let’s stand up for education, stand up for teachers.”
Executive member Anne Lemon told delegates that the flexible wording of its motion would allow the “escalation” of strike action if required.
“Yes, we want to be involving as many teachers as possible, but if we can’t take our NASUWT colleagues with us, we have a commitment and the ability to go it alone,” she said. “But also, very, very importantly, the motion does not exclude us from taking strike action with other unions who will be coming out; if that means more than one day, there’s nothing that precludes that from happening in this motion.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Ministers have met frequently with the NUT and other unions and will continue to do so. Further strike action will only disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.
"It is important that teachers work closely with school leaders to ensure that their workload is manageable. We trust the professionalism of our headteachers to monitor their staff's workload and address any issues."