Teachers and Unison local government workers co-ordinate strike

This Is Wiltshire: Teachers rally in Bristol during the strike in October last year Teachers rally in Bristol during the strike in October last year

Wiltshire faces a day of disruption next month as the country’s biggest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), has announced its members will strike on July 10 to coincide with action by local government workers.

Unison, GMB and Unite will be balloting their members over taking action on that day as they are angry at a Government pay offer.

It will be the third action carried out by the NUT since last October and it is likely to cause disruption for parents.

The union is in disagreement with the Government over wages and workloads, saying it is defending the future of the profession.

Andy Woolley, South West regional secretary of the NUT, said: “The Government is still failing to make progress on our trade dispute over teachers’ pay, pensions and workload.

“The talks are still only about the implementation of Government policies, not about the fundamental issues we believe to be detrimental to education and the profession.

“For teachers, performance-related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and a heavy workload for 60 hours a week, is unsustainable.

“This action is the responsibility of a Government and Education Secretary who are refusing point blank to accept the damage their reforms are doing to the teaching profession. The consequences of turning teaching into a totally unattractive career choice will most certainly lead to teacher shortages.

“Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils. This date has been chosen to cause minimum disruption to examinations.”

The potential strike by local government workers comes after the unions rejected the Government’s offer of a pay increase.

The National Employers’ offer is for increases of between 1.25 and 4.66 per cent for those on the bottom six pay points and one per cent for the remainder of employees, while chief officers have not been offered a pay increase.

Unison said its members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will walk out for 24 hours, with other unions set to announce a similar move in the coming week.

Unison announced that its local government members backed action by 58 per cent in protest at a pay offer worth one per cent for most workers.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: "We have a clear majority for strike action so a one-day strike will go ahead on July 10.

"We expect to be joined in that action by other unions in local government and will be campaigning amongst our members for maximum support on that day.

"Many of our members are low paid women earning barely above the minimum wage, who care for our children, our elderly and our vulnerable and they deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this government.

"The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute."

Unison said local government workers have been "condemned" to three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20 per cent since the coalition came to power.

The GMB and Unite will announce voting results over the next week, while the Public and Commercial Services union is also balloting its members for a strike in a long-running dispute over cuts in the civil service, with the result also due by the end of the month.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: "It is disappointing that Unison will be proceeding with strike action. Local government staff have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory and we have no doubt that many will still be at work on the day of strike action.

"The pay offer we have made would increase the pay of most employees by one per cent while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than four per cent. This is the fairest possible deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford.

"This strike will not change the pay offer we have made, but it will mean those who take part lose a day's pay."

 

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