Up to 300,000 teachers set to walk out as unions vow to coordinate action in autumn

2 May 2023, 06:46

Teachers are walking out today
Teachers are walking out today. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Up to 300,000 teachers are set to walk out as unions warn of joint action amid the long-running dispute over pay.

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Members of the National Education Union (NEU) are staging their latest round of walkouts on Tuesday after turning down the government's pay offer.

Teachers were offered a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year (2022/23) and an average 4.5% rise for staff next year. But all four education unions rejected the offer.

As a result, major disruption is expected to continue into the new school year, with unions warning that they will band together for more strike action in autumn.

Four education unions, which represent the majority of school leaders and teachers across England, have said they will join up for any future walkouts.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said up to 400,000 teachers in England could be involved in walkouts if all the unions go out on strike.

Read more: Cancer nurses walk out for first time in NHS history as union leader warns strikes could last until Christmas

Read more: Great Ormond Street declares incident as it fears nurses' strike will seriously damage children's safety at hospital

Teachers during the Budget Day strike
Teachers during the Budget Day strike. Picture: Alamy

Currently, only the NEU has a mandate to take strike action and it plans to re-ballot its teacher members in England to take further action.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the NASUWT teaching union - which both failed to meet the mandatory 50% turnout threshold required for strikes in England in their last ballots - will re-ballot members in England during the summer term.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is also due to hold a formal ballot for national strikes in England for the first time in its history.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "For unions to coordinate strike action with the aim of causing maximum disruption to schools is unreasonable and disproportionate, especially given the impact the pandemic has already had on their learning.

"Children’s education has always been our absolute priority and they should be in classrooms where they belong.

"We have made a fair and reasonable teacher pay offer to the unions, which recognises teachers' hard work and commitment as well as delivering at additional £2 billion in funding for schools, which they asked for."

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