A union leader has accused the education secretary of being “arrogantly dismissive” of the teaching workforce, as the dates for two regional one day strikes were announced today.
The two biggest teaching unions, the NUT and the NASUWT have scheduled the walkouts for October 1 and October 17. They will almost certainly be followed by a national walk-out before the end of term. No date for the national strike has been announced, although it is believed that unions are considering the end of November.
The strikes this autumn follow on from a one day strike in the north west in June, which closed more than 1,200 schools.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, told a press conference this morning that the strikes were being held due to Michael Gove’s refusal to “genuinely engage” with unions to discuss a raft of grievances over pay and conditions, including performance related pay.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said the “last thing” that teachers wanted to do was take strike action, but it was the only choice in the face of the “absolute brick wall” they had faced from the government.
The Department for Education responded to the news by calling it “disappointing” and claiming that 70 per cent of people opposed the strikes.
NUT and NASUWT members in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and the Eastern region will take part in a walkout on October 1.
Those in the North East, London, the South East and the South West will strike on October 17.
Plans to strike in Wales have been put on hold after the unions said its education minister had been prepared to enter into meaningful talks.
For full coverage, see tomorrow's TES magazine.