NUT urges members to back strike over pay

1st February 2008 at 00:00
England's biggest teaching union is encouraging its members to walk out on a national one-day strike in protest at an "effective pay cut".

Teachers have received backing from some MPs, who have signed a parliamentary early day motion calling for an above-inflation pay rise.

The National Union of Teachers is to ballot its members at the end of this month about a strike on April 24. It would be the first national teachers' strike in 20 years.

The deal on the table is that teachers' pay will rise 2.45 per cent this year, and 2.3 per cent in each of the subsequent two years.

This is smaller than recent rises in the cost of living, which increased 4 per cent in the past year.

Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, said: "I'll be recommending that people vote 'Yes' to industrial action.

"To bring the best young graduates into the profession, teachers' salaries need to be competitive with those in the private sector. Our children deserve the best."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families had argued for a pay rise of below 2 per cent, but ministers were forced to accept the School Teachers' Review Body recommendation, which was higher.

The review body strongly criticised Mr Balls' officials and the Welsh Assembly for failing to provide evidence to back their claims that the economy could afford only 2 per cent more for teachers. "Transparency requires more than government assertions on affordability," it said.

Police, who are only getting a 1.9 per cent pay rise, protested in London last week.

Constable Marion Kent, who works in schools and takes her tea breaks in the staffroom at Morpeth Secondary School in Tower Hamlets, east London, said: "It seems to me that if you're all working in the public sector, you should all get the same pay rise."

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