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When are teachers striking – and why?

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Teachers across the country will be out of a job over the next two months following the biggest vote for strike action in UK history.

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The National Education Union (NEU) is made up of both teachers and teaching assistants, with over 450,000 members.

They voted overwhelmingly to strike last week, with 90.44% of teachers in England voting ‘yes’ after a 53.27% turnout, while 84% of support staff agreed (out of 46.46% polled).

The numbers were similar in Wales, with 92.28% voting ‘yes’ to 53.27% voting and 88% of support staff supporting it to 51.3% voting.

its sister organization, the Scottish Institute of Educationalso voted overwhelmingly to strike in November, with 96% supporting it on a 71% turnout.

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This means the ballot has passed the highly restrictive threshold set by the government – ​​and education across the UK is likely to be severely disrupted over the next few months.

Members of other education unions such as NASUWT and NAHT had previously considered walking out, but failed to reach 50% voting for the legislation. They are now thinking of balloting the members again regarding the salary.

Teachers in Northern Ireland are also reportedly considering strike action.

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Here’s what you need to know.

When will they strike?

Union members are on strike in England:

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Tuesday 28 February (Northern, North West and Humber Region)

Wednesday 1 March (East Midlands, Western, Eastern Region)

Thursday 2 March (London, South East, South West Region)

Union members are on strike in Wales:

There will be rallies in Westminster and Cardiff on 15 March to address the government.

Union members are on strike in Scotland:

What about strike action in Northern Ireland?

Union members in Northern Ireland had already taken coordinated action before the strike last year.

depending on How does the voting between January 23 and February 10 go?Possible action for those in Northern Ireland will begin on 20 February, although no date has yet been officially set.

What will happen to the schools?

The NEU has said schools will have to close during strike action, particularly on 1 February, when there will be walkouts in England, Wales and Scotland.

This is partly because the NEU received 22,000 new sign-ups in the past week following its walkout announcement for England and Wales, meaning the disruption is likely to be huge.

Marie Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, told news agency PA: “I think the action will be stronger because we’ve got a bigger membership. People get involved so they can take part in the action.”

Busted said they expected 100,000 to strike on the first day of industrial action, although there could be “much more”.

“A lot of schools will be closed. In areas where NEU is the largest union and has a really strong density, like London, there will be a lot of school closures,” she said.

The Department of Education has suggested that agency staff and volunteers could be used to replace striking teachers and staff, and in an effort to keep schools open.

The NEU requires schools to number members in their workplace who will be striking (due to law) but does not give individual names.

Bousted said it was up to headmasters to decide whether to close schools before the first major strike action day (February 1).

According to Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, a risk assessment is needed to consider “the safety of staff and students”, and to see how many remaining staff will be there.

Jeff J. Mitchell via Getty Images

Striking school teachers gather outside Glasgow City Chambers after picketing outside schools on January 16, 2023 in Scotland.

Why are they on strike?

February 1 is the date many other unionized employees in the public sector will walk out.

The teachers not only want a pay hike, but also want to correct the actual pay cut of the staff since the austerity in 2010.

Teachers have since seen their salaries drop by 23% in real terms, while support staff have seen their salaries drop by 27% over the same time frame.

The average salary increase for teachers this year is 5% (which lags behind the current inflation rate of 10.5%).

The NEU says that a third of teachers also resign within five years of qualification.

Teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland have rejected offers of a smaller pay rise, demanding it is now in line with inflation.



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