Teachers to strike over reforms to pay and pensions


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The Independent Online

Only eight per cent of parents believe the Coalition has improved education, teaching unions claimed last night as they vowed they were ready to embark on strike action this summer.

A rolling programme of strike action over pay and pensions covering every school in England and Wales before Christmas appeared to be closer last night as the unions seized on the poll carried out by YouGov for the National Union of Teachers, which they said showed the extent of parental dissatisfaction with the Government's education reforms.

However, the poll also showed that only 19 per cent believed the Government was wrong to promote the opening of more free schools and academies.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said there would be "no rowing back from our position" after receiving a letter from Education Secretary Michael Gove saying he would not budge on his reforms. Delegates at the National Union of Teachers annual conference in Liverpool are almost certain today to back a demand for the industrial action. A similar motion will be put before the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers conference tomorrow.

The mood of antagonism towards the Government has intensified following the letter from Mr Gove to the general secretaries of both unions – promising talks but insisting "the direction of travel" over reforms to teachers' pay and pensions was "fixed".

He praised performance-related pay as "a wholly good thing" and said he was not prepared to postpone its introduction.

Under Mr Gove's proposals, teachers will start paying more towards their pensions from April – and automatic pay rises up the teachers' pay scale will be scrapped from September. Instead, headteachers will set their own pay levels for their staff.