Teachers vote to strike over 'erosion of pay and working conditions'

  • NUT say 82.5% were in favour of walkouts with a turnout of 27%
  • 'Teachers are being undermined by unacceptable erosion of working conditions and pay,' they say

By Martin Robinson


Thousands of teachers have voted to go on strike over the 'erosion' of their pay and working conditions, it was announced today.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said its ballot of members had shown that 82.5 per cent were in favour of walkouts, with a turnout of 27 per cent.

Members also voted for industrial action short of strikes, with 91.6 per cent in favour, the union said.

The result raises the threat of huge disruption to schools later this term.

Threat: Thousands of teachers have voted to strike, unions revealed today

Threat: Thousands of teachers have voted to strike, unions revealed today

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: 'The NUT is left with no option but to take action to protect the well-being of our members and restore their rights to do their job thoroughly and properly.

'Teachers are being undermined by a Government whose almost daily criticisms and erosion of working conditions and pay, coming on top of previous attacks on pensions, are unacceptable. This negative approach to the profession has to stop.


'No other profession comes under such continual scrutiny and no other profession has accountability systems based on so little trust. This is bound to lower morale. It is time for Government to stop dictating to teachers and address the problems which they are creating. It is time to listen to the profession.'

Anger: Michael Gove's Education department has said that the strike is dangerous

Anger: Michael Gove's Education department has said that the strike would be dangerous

The NUT, which has previously balloted members over changes to public sector pensions, has warned of joint strikes with the NASUWT teachers’ union

The NASUWT already has a mandate to take industrial action over the same issues.

Today, the NUT said the two unions will be campaigning together to 'ensure that the onslaught of attacks on the teaching profession stops'.

Further details of the campaign will be set out on Monday.

Some 228,831 NUT members in state schools, academies and sixth-form colleges in England and Wales were balloted in total.

The ballot result follows a warning by the leader of the UK’s biggest trade union of a fresh wave of co-ordinated strikes because of continuing anger over cuts to pay and pensions which was leading the country on a 'path to poverty'.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said there was a 'real likelihood' of more industrial action before the end of the year, following last November’s huge walkout by public sector workers over the Government’s controversial pension reforms.

The pensions issue remains a 'festering sore' among workers in the health service, education and civil service and could erupt again in the coming months, he said.

The annual TUC Congress is being held next week in Brighton, when activists are expected to press for industrial action.

Mr McCluskey said public sector workers had endured a three-year pay freeze and face another two years without any increase, leading to growing numbers of low-paid people having to rely on food banks.

'That is scandalous. The attacks on public sector workers are unfair, and our members remain furious and angry. There is a real chance of coordinated industrial action, if not this winter, then early next year.

'There is a view that strikes are a waste of time, but I reject that. When people feel something is wrong, we have to protest. What else are we supposed to do? Shrug our shoulders and say taking action is not going to make any difference?

When enough people march or take strike action, it has an impact.'

Disruptive: There would be an impact on pupils all over the country if the strike goes ahead

Disruptive: There would be an impact on pupils all over the country if the strike goes ahead

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: 'Congratulations to the NUT on a positive ballot result.

'This result is the reflection of two years of sustained assault from the Government which has been deeply damaging to teacher morale, as well as to recruitment and retention.

'On Monday the NASUWT will be setting out jointly with the NUT the next steps to defend teachers from attacks on their pay, pensions, workload, working conditions and jobs.'

The Government has today called the threat of strikes damaging.

'We are very disappointed that a small minority of NUT members has voted this way. Industrial action would disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and will damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public,' a spokeswoman said.

'Parents and members of the public will struggle to understand why the NUT chose to ballot their members now about pay and working conditions when decisions about future pay arrangements have yet to be made.'


The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Once again the unions seek to blackmail the wealth makers, i.e. those who are not employed by the government, to pay for their GREED. If we are all in this together then public service workers will have to accept the same conditions as the rest of the country's workers. I note the teachers are going to work to rule, great, this means ALL our children should be properly educated, unless of course the wrong rules are in place. Before the unions come out with the some low wage earner, can we please know the average wage of teachers etc. rather than the unions present some figure, of a teacher or assistant who works limited hours or the like. Perhaps if teachers assistants were done away with (we used to have excellent education before they were introduced), then the teachers can really EARN the good wages and conditions they alread have! No doubt there will be many red arrows, just identifying the number of Teachers etc. who read these notes.

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We need to introduce the Japanese system where only A-Level A* students with first class degrees are allowed to apply for teaching roles. We'd stop having issues with how overpaid and over pensioned they are then. - Great Balls, of Fire, United Kingdom, Not sure how you work out that having better qualified teachers is going to stop theissue of overpay and pensions.

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An 82.5% vote on a 27% turnout is less than 23% of NUT members in favour of a walkout. This threat should be ignored by the government as they are just posturing!

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I am surprised that they were able to read their terms and conditions. Until thet standards of teaching go up thier pay and conditions should be reduced.

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I will also add one more thing. Anyone who tries to downplay how big the pensions are by talking about "average pensions" is dishonest. I've seen these numbers cited by the BBC and the Guardian, so there's no reason to trust anything they say on the subject. Anyone who works for more than 3 months is eligible to participate. So when talking about averages, they are including all the people getting pensions based on only a few years of employment, which obviously lowers the number. The mere fact that these groups are trying to engage in this deception reveals all you need to know. Government employee unions exist to serve themselves and are looting the rest of you. When you see comments here about people boasting about living it up in Spain or wherever, that's who they are. They took their lump sum of 90k and 30k/year and left the country to live in a villa in France or Spain..

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I think we're all a bit concerned about the low percentage of teachers who voted for this strike, but then the general election turnout was 65% and only 22% of eligible voters voted Tory. We need to introduce the Japanese system where only A-Level A* students with first class degrees are allowed to apply for teaching roles. We'd stop having issues with how overpaid and over pensioned they are then.

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Yes its ok for them to strike but not for us to have them out for a holdia. Well id id pretneded they were ill LOL

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Oh stop moaning and go to work teaching. short hours and too many holiday Or find a rich man and be a housewife if you cannot cope

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I woud also add that the scheme allows the teacher to go part-time for the last 7 years, but the pension is based on the average salary of the 3 years before going part-time. It's either salary in the final 12 months before retiremnet, or the average of the highest three years in the previous 10, whichever is higher. So if you were paid average of 60,000 at age 50-53, you could go part-time for the last 7 years, and your pension at 60 would be based on the 60,000 at age 50-53. So to get the half pay pension of 40 years service, (40/80), you really only need to work full-time for 33 years to get the 40 years calculation, 23 years full-time to get the 30 year credit, etc..

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BagLady, Sihanoukville, United Kingdom "It would have been helpful if DM had provided the figures: salaries, perks and pensions. That way readers could form a more balanced opinion." I've looked at it. If you were in it before Jan 2007, retirement age is 60. It is based on either you last salary or the average of the best three years in the previous 10. It is that salary X (years of service/80) = annual pension, plus a tax free lump sum of three times the annual amount. If you started after Jan 2007, the age is 65, the tax free lump sum is gone, but the 80 in the equation is replaced by 60. So a teacher retiring now at 60, with 40 years, best salary at 60,000, would get 30,000/year plus 90,000 tax-free lump sum. Starting in 2007, that would be 40,000/year, with no 3x lump sum. The amounts would all increase each year for inflation. So, in the first year, that teacher would get 120k (90k tax free), then 30k/year after that.

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