Teachers threaten national pay strike in 7% rise demand

NEU to take steps towards a ballot for national strike action if demands on pay rise for 2021 are not met

Covid: ‘No justice’ in pay freeze for ‘hero’ teachers, says the NEU

England's largest teaching union is calling for a pay rise for teachers of at least 7 per cent for 2021 – and says it will “build towards” a ballot for national strike action if its demands are not met.

Delegates at the NEU teaching union’s annual conference voted for the union to call for the rise in a submission to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) –  which advises the government on teacher pay – that would also demand that teachers' pay is restored to real terms 2010 levels "within three years”.

But the Department for Education has already said it wants to "pause" pay rises this year for the vast majority of teachers.

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Unions: Freezing pay would be 'a slap in the face' for teachers

NEU delegates today backed a motion describing the public sector pay freeze as “an insult to key workers” who kept the country going through the pandemic.

Teacher pay: Real-terms pay cuts 'having an effect on us all'

It calls for an end to performance-related pay as well as the annual publication of data, by establishment, on pay and pay progression (including on the equality characteristics of teachers denied pay progression).

Former NEU president Kiri Tunks, backing the motion, said low pay rises, performance-related pay and the schools' funding shortfall had a particular impact on women and black and disabled school staff.

She said: "Real-terms pay cuts are very real and are having an effect on all of us and are having a real impact on people leaving the profession."   

The motion also calls on the union’s executive to “challenge discrimination in pay matters, particularly that experienced by black, disabled and female staff due to pregnancy, maternity leave or age, plus part-time and supply staff”.

Backing a call for the end of performance-related pay, NEU delegate Sean McCauley said the debate on national action needed to be “thrashed out”, adding that voting of members in some NEU districts had already shown that the thresholds needed for strike action could "be beaten".

The wording of the motion states that the union will “use surveys of members to build towards a ballot for national strike action at an appropriate time, with all tactical options considered, should the government not meet our demands, seeking involvement of other trade unions where possible”.

There were no speakers against the motion. Some 99 per cent of delegates voted in favour.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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