Teachers at a school resisting academy status are set to go on strike. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it is to ballot members at Downhills Primary School in Haringey, north London, for action this summer.
The dispute is over potential changes to staff pay and conditions if the school does become an academy. NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said:
Where academy conversions are threatened we do, from time to time, agree to ballot our members for a trade dispute against the change in employer because of the threat to pay and conditions that's implied by the change in employer.
– Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, National Union of Teachers
"It is not a ballot for strike action against the Government's policy of forced academies. It's about a ballot for strike action about the change of employer that the forced academies leads to."
The National Union of Teachers' general secretary Christine Blower has spoken after their annual conference in Torquay, saying that an 'overwhelming majority have clearly rejected the Government's policy for the teachers' pension scheme'. Ms Blower said:
– Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers' General secretary
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. Determination to continue this campaign is absolute."
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 latest moves means that schools across the country could now face walkouts from the summer onwards.
The National Union of Teachers' 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."
Two of the UK's biggest teaching unions are 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.
The National President of teachers' union NASUWT has told ITV News that there is a 'strong feeling' to escalate action as teachers vote to strike. Paula Roe has said that their current actions are "short of strike action".
A Department for Education spokesman has defended current reforms on teacher's pensions:
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.
We have given teachers more powers to tackle bad behaviour in the classroom and have introduced new laws to protect them from malicious allegations. We've also allowed schools to run their own affairs by becoming academies, and we have slashed bureaucratic paperwork to free-up teachers' time.
We are putting power back into the hands of talented heads and teachers - allowing them to get on with raising standards without interference from Whitehall or politicians. Strikes benefit no one.
The teachers' biggest union has voted at its annual conference for an escalation of industrial action -- including strikes -- as part of their growing row with the government over pay, pensions, working conditions and job losses.
Later today the other main teaching union -- the NUT -- votes on possible strike action at their conference in Torquay.
During today's debate by union members in Brighton over whether teachers strike over the pensions row, Union treasurer Brian Cookson said there has been an "unprecedented, vicious, prejudiced and totally unjustified attack on the public sector" in the last two years:
"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..."
"...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.
Delegates at the NASUWT's annual conference in Birmingham passed a resolution which said that continuing the union's industrial action campaign is the best way of safeguarding the interests of teachers.
– NASUWT resolution statement
"Conference is committed to further extending the current national action instructions to restore teachers' professionalism by attacking policies and practices which deprofessionalise teachers, including punitive fallout from the inspection and accountability regimes..."
A separate union, The National Union of Teachers (NUT), is also due to discuss a priority motion this afternoon on government changes to public sector pensions.