Teaching strikes loom after ballot

 

Two of the UK's biggest teaching unions were today on a collision course
with the Government after voting for further industrial action,
including strikes, over pensions, pay and job losses.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) passed a resolution at its annual conference in Torquay seeking fresh walkouts as early as this summer amid concerns over the Government's changes to public sector pensions.

It came just hours after the NASUWT, which is holding its conference in Birmingham, agreed to escalate its industrial action campaign against attacks on pay, pensions, working conditions and job losses - raising the possibility of strikes in the autumn term.

The latest moves by the two unions means that schools across the country could now face walkouts from the summer onwards.

The NUT's motion, which was heard in private, called for the union to work with its local divisions with the "aim of organising a further one-day national strike before the end of June."

It also raised the possibility of targeted regional and local action in both the summer and autumn terms. Any action by the NUT could affect schools in England and Wales.

The motion instructed the executive to "seek to build a coalition of unions committed to further strike action in the summer term and beyond to defeat the Government's proposals".

Speaking after the debate, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "The overwhelming majority of teachers and their organisations have clearly rejected the Government's policy for the teachers' pension scheme.

"The NUT conference has now agreed a comprehensive strategy and position to make sure that we are able to take action in order to give life to that rejection of the pensions and in order to win something better for our members so that they don't have to work longer, pay more and get less."

Ms Blower said it was "important that the Government takes this seriously", adding that there were fears that the Government would announce will rise beyond 68 to 69 or 70.

She added that the "determination to continue this campaign is absolute."

Action over the summer term would coincide with the exams seasons, when tens of thousands of teenagers sit qualifications including GCSEs and A-levels.

Ms Blower yesterday insisted that it is not the union's intention to disrupt the exams period.

The NUT, along with a number of other trade unions, has been embroiled in a row with the Government over public sector pensions for more than a year.

It argues that the Government's proposals will leave teachers paying in more, working longer and receiving less when they retire.

Ministers insisted that changes are needed to ensure public sector pensions are sustainable for the future.

The union, which declined the Government's latest pensions offer, took part in a walkout over pensions on June 30 last year, as well as joining the TUC's national day of action on November 30.

NUT members in London also staged a one-day walkout last month.

This morning, the NASUWT passed a resolution arguing that continuing their industrial action campaign is "the best means of protecting and safeguarding the interests of teachers and state education until the next general election."

It warned that in the face of a "vicious and unjustified assault on teachers, it will be essential to intensify the industrial action campaign".

Proposing the NASUWT's resolution, union treasurer Brian Cookson said there had been an "unprecedented, vicious, prejudiced and totally unjustified attack on the public sector" in the last two years.

He said that education is on the front line of an attack on workers' rights, pay cuts, and increased pension costs.

"As teachers we are supreme professionals and we must be treated as such. As our general secretary has said, "teaching is not rocket science, it is more difficult than that!" We want to achieve the best for the children we teach. We care about the future. We believe in education as a right."

He added: "Colleagues, we must avoid at all costs a shopping list approach to industrial action. Industrial action must have a carefully planned focus, a strategic approach. During the next term our members will really see the effects of a protracted pay freeze, a rise in pension contributions, see their pay fall, look at the prospect of a pay freeze and draconian curbs on pay for three further years, the scrapping of national pay rates on top of the mounting assaults on our professionalism you witness every day.

"We not only have the capacity to respond, we can build on it daily throughout next term. We know we may be in it for the long haul but, colleagues, we will respond and we will win.

A Department for Education spokesman said the teachers' pensions deal is "as good as it gets".

"It guarantees teachers one of the best pensions available but keeps a lid on rising costs for the taxpayer," he said.

"We've been in serious talks for months with unions to address their concerns and reach a final settlement. Reforms to public sector pensions are essential - the status quo is not an option."

The spokesman added: "It is absurd to say our school reforms are a 'vicious assault' on the teaching profession. They are all about putting children first and raising standards."

PA

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
News
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvReview: The insights of Ricky Gervais's sweet and kind character call to mind Karl Pilkington's faux-naïf podcast observations
Life & Style
techProbably not, this lamp is secretly live-tweeting conversations from a McDonalds
News
Ain't that a kick in the head: a still from Jared Frank's money-spinning video
mediaTrain Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video
Sport
The redeveloped Anfield will eventually hold 58,800 supporters
footballClub marking return to Champions League elite
Arts & Entertainment
musicPaul Weller says ‘greedy touts’ have wrecked vinyl promotion
Voices
peopleWhat better hero for Britain than Saint George?
Sport
Stephen Hendry has not played a ranking event for two seasons
Stephen Hendry poised for a sensational return to snooker
News
Fresh hope: Ruth Womak and her dog Jess
educationHow one housing association's remarkable initiative gave hope
News
Higher expectations: European economies are growing but the recovery remains weak
newsThe eurozone crisis has tipped many into despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues economist Philippe Legrain
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Secondary Teachers Required In Grimsby

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are working with a number of ...

Biology Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Qualified Science Teacher requir...

DT Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: This is a unique and exciting op...

Primary Teacher Early Years Plymouth

£23500 - £50000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is ...

Day In a Page

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents
Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?