Headteachers to consider strike action

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest headteachers' union is poised to back strike action against the threat to their members' pensions in a move that could lead to the closure of thousands of schools.

Delegates to the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference in Brighton will vote on an emergency motion which could lead to an unprecedented strike by heads.

Sunday's motion, put to an executive meeting of the NAHT held during the royal wedding yesterday, would give the union's leadership the power to protest over the Government's threat to teachers' pensions by any means they thought fit, up to and including strike action.

Two teachers' unions, the traditionally moderate Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the more militant National Union of Teachers, have already backed a ballot on industrial action at their Easter conferences.

They are planning their first strike (in the ATL's case the first national strike in its history) by the end of June, with further strikes in the autumn term.

Under the proposals for reform, teachers will have to pay an extra £100 a month into their pension fund – the figure for heads would be even higher. In addition, the retirement age would be raised to 68 and the pension would be fixed on average salary rather than final salary – again a move which would be more damaging for heads.