Teachers back regional strikes
Published 30/03/2013 | 17:42
Teachers are on a collision course with government after throwing their weight behind a series of strikes over pay and pensions.
But a call for teachers to stage a one-day national walkout on June 26 was lost as the National Union of Teachers (NUT) agreed to stick to a rolling programme of industrial action planned with the NASUWT teaching union.
Delegates at the NUT's annual conference in Liverpool also began considering a vote of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove, with a number of teachers chanting "Gove must go".
The NUT and the NASUWT announced last week that they are planning a series of regional strikes, beginning in areas of the North West on June 27, amid a deepening row over pay, pensions and workload.
The NUT on Saturday passed a resolution confirming that they supported the proposals.
Martin Powell-Davies, an NUT member from Lewisham, south London, had urged the conference to support an amendment to the plans and back a one-day national strike on June 26 - the day Chancellor George Osborne is due to publish his latest spending review. He told delegates: "What we need to add is that we start this campaign with a national strike on June 26."
Mr Powell-Davies said that the conference needed to send a message to Education Secretary Michael Gove that "we are in a battle and that means preparing for national strike action next term."
NUT general secretary Christine Blower retaliated by warning Mr Gove that the union is not prepared to row back from its position. The stalemate puts the unions firmly on a collision course with the government, with schools across the country now set to be affected by walkouts over the next few months.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Good teaching is critical to the success of our education system and we are making sure that it is properly recognised. We have significantly reduced bureaucracy, given more autonomy to schools than ever before through our academy and free school programmes and are ensuring good teachers are better recognised through the pay system.
"Industrial action will simply disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public at time when our reforms are improving standards in schools across the country."
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