In its ongoing campaign for a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise, teacher members of the National Education Union (NEU) in England and Wales have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and the ballot has successfully surpassed the restrictive thresholds set by the Government for strike action.
The branch said that the question of "Are you prepared to take strike action in furtherance of this dispute?" was put to members. For the ballot of teachers, in England a 90.44% majority voted yes on a turnout of 53.27%. They added that the ballot is a result of failure by the Secretary of State in England to ensure enough money is available to pay a fully-funded increase in pay for teachers which at least matches inflation, and which begins to restore lost pay.
The union is declaring seven days of strike action in February and March, though any individual school will only be affected by four of them. The first will be on Wednesday February 1, affecting 23,400 schools in England and Wales. Teacher members in sixth form colleges in England, who have already been balloted and taken strike action in recent months, will also take action on these days in a separate but linked dispute with the Secretary of State.
The action is an indication of how 2023 will continue on where 2022 left off. Teachers unions will be joining nurses and ambulance workers in already walking out in pay and conditions disputes in 2023.
The full list of projected strike days are as follows:
- Wednesday February 1 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
- Tuesday February 14 2023: all eligible members in Wales.
- Tuesday February 28 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: Northern, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber.
- Wednesday March 1 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern.
- Thursday March 2 2023: all eligible members in the following English regions: London, South East, South West.
- Wednesday March 15 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
- Thursday March 16 2023: all eligible members in England and Wales.
Peter Middleman, North West Regional Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “This is an emphatic result and an accurate indication of the strength of feeling within the teaching profession. It is all the more remarkable when you consider the administrative scale of conducting an aggregated ballot taken across 23,000 workplaces in England and in the context of the provisions of the Trade Union Act which has placed significant impediments on the ability of unions to engage fully with members since 2016.
“As such, the Government ought to take this democratic result seriously and recognise the mistakes in their approach to teacher reward which has brought the profession to this point. With workloads going endlessly up, our members have indicated that they will no longer tolerate their living standards going in the opposite direction. Headteachers and School Governors understand like we do, that with school funding in dire straits, only the Treasury and Department for Education can now resolve this dispute by placing a new value on our schools, and the people who learn and work within them”.