Teachers have threatened national strike action if the government fails to award them a pay rise of 5 per cent this year.
A motion passed at the NEU teaching union’s annual conference this morning, includes a call to prepare for a national strike to take place next year, before Easter.
Those demands include a fully funded pay award of at least 5 per cent this year, while the conference also voted to “prepare for a considerably higher claim in 2020.”
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Mary Bousted, NEU joint-general secretary said: “The effect of years of cumulative pay cuts is mounting up. Pay is down by some 15 per cent in real terms since 2010 and continues to fall further behind other professions.
“A retention crisis is developing in all phases of teaching from newly qualified teachers, through mid-career, to school leaders – one in three of whom leave their jobs within three years of being appointed.
“The government’s unprecedented decision to reject the STRB’s recommendations last year and impose a lower pay rise on half the profession was totally misguided. We cannot let that happen again.”
Delegates passed an amendment which welcomed the 82 per cent "yes" vote for strike action (on a turn-out of 31.4 per cent) in an indicative ballot of members held over Christmas and the new year.
It also noted that the government’s submission to the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) for a two per cent increase “will do nothing to restore the value of teachers’ pay nor address the problems in recruitment of retention.”
Speaking in favour of the motion, ICT teacher Sally Kincaid, from Wakefield, sang a verse from The Beatles song Can’t Buy Me Love.
She said: “We don’t do this job for the money. However, when you get pay cut after pay cut, it gets more than demoralising.”
In a separate motion passed yesterday, the NEU conference voted to test the water on strike action over cuts to schools funding by preparing for an indicative ballot.