Teachers’ union could be next to announce strikes as wave of industrial action continues


Thousands of teachers could be set to walk off the job as the National Education Union (NEU) prepares to announce the result of a strike ballot today.

The NEU has said walkouts in England and Wales could begin at the end of the month after more than 300,000 teachers and support staff were asked to vote in a dispute over pay.

The union will have to give two weeks’ notice of any industrial action.

A ballot of members of the NASUWT teachers union last week failed to reach the 50% turnout threshold, although nine in 10 of those who did vote backed strikes.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland union are beginning 16 days of rolling strike action today, with teachers in two of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas walking out each day until 6 February.

The first two councils affected are Glasgow, where all schools are closed today, and East Lothian where they are shut to all pupils apart from those taking preliminary exams.

The action is going ahead after talks on Thursday involving the Scottish government, local authority leaders and teaching unions failed to resolve the issue.

Members of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland union are also beginning 16 days of rolling strikes from today.

The strikes come as the wave of industrial action which has swept across the UK for months will continue this week.

Nurses across England will walk out on Wednesday and Thursday.

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The Royal College of Nursing has warned that if progress is not made in negotiations by the end of January the next set of strikes will include all eligible members in England for the first time.

The government continues to insist that pay claims are unaffordable and is sticking to its line that wage rises should be decided by pay review bodies.

Health unions are refusing to submit any evidence to the NHS pay review body for the 2023/24 pay rise until the current dispute is resolved.

Ambulance workers on the picket line in London earlier this month

Meanwhile, leaders from the GMB union will meet today to decide whether to call more strikes among their ambulance members because of the lack of progress in talks.

Any decision is likely to be announced later in the week.

On Wednesday, Unison members at the Environment Agency will go on strike in a dispute over pay.

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Mary Bousted says the government has known that strike action was being considered by teachers for months.

Talks will continue between rail unions and train operators in a fresh attempt to resolve the long-running row which has led to a series of strikes since last summer.

Both sides say they are working towards a revised offer.

It comes as the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is pressing ahead with a strike on 1 February by 100,000 civil servants which will have an impact on governments, driving test centres, museums, ports and airports.

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Teacher strike would be ‘regrettable’

The TUC is organising a series of protests on 1 February against the government’s controversial proposed new law on strikes.

Planned legislation aimed at ensuring minimum levels of service during strikes will receive its Second Reading in parliament later today.

A demonstration will be held outside Downing Street to protest against the government’s move.

PCS members working as legal advisers and court associates in more than 80 courts across England and Wales are also to take further strike action in a long-running dispute about a case management system called Common Platform.

Around 300 PCS members will take action on 21 January and 28 January.

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PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “As long as managers continue to ignore our members, our members will continue to resist the unworkable Common Platform system and fight for the integrity of the entire justice system.”

This week’s industrial action will take place after the government was accused of attempting to “steamroller” through new legislation on strikes amid mounting anger over the “spiteful” measure.

A bill on ensuring minimum levels of service during industrial action will receive its Second Reading in parliament on Monday as part of ministers’ response to months of strikes and more walkouts due in the coming weeks.

Labour said it will oppose the legislation and any attempts to fast track it through parliament without proper scrutiny.

The TUC said the planned law would give ministers sweeping new powers that restrict the right to strike.

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