Bath Voice News: teachers in Bath to strike in their campaign to improve pay and conditions

By Harry Mottram: The teachers plan two days of strikes in July in their campaign to improve pay and conditions. They are on Wed July the 5th and Fri July 7th affecting schools across Bath and the rest of England. The NEU have already organised a number of strike days since February with no sign of an agreement with the Government soon.

Most state school teachers in England had a 5% pay rise for the year 2022-23, while the government offered a £1,000 one-off cash payment but this has been withdrawn after talks failed. The teaching unions want the pay rise to match inflation which is near or in double digits. So far the Government have offered a 4.3% rise for the next academic year which they feel is a fair offer as they battle to bring down inflation.

Dr Mary Bousted of the National Education Union, said: “It is within Gillian Keegan’s grasp for this action to be halted. Time and again the National Education Union, alongside its sister unions, have called for the Education Secretary to get around the negotiation table to settle this dispute for a fully-funded teacher pay increase. Time and again our calls have fallen on stony ground. The Education Secretary refused to re-enter negotiation on the grounds that she and her Department were waiting for the publication of the School Teachers’ Review Body’s recommendation on pay.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Further strike action will cause real damage to pupil learning and even more disruption for parents right across the country. Thousands of schools are receiving significant additional funding as part of the extra £2bn of investment we are providing for both 2023/24 and 2024/25 which will take school funding its highest level in history next year, as measured by the IFS.

“As part of the normal process, the independent School Teachers’ Review Body has submitted its recommendations to government on teacher pay for 2023/24. We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”

For parents of school children the strikes can be a problem with reports in the national media that some take unpaid leave from their jobs to care for their children.

The Times Educational Supplement have reported on some parents joining the picket lines in support for the teachers while for some parents who work from home or are not in employment the problem is minimal.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said it will ballot members on national strike action in England for the first time in its history. Voting is currently open and ends on 31 July.

Picture from the NEU.

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