School heads in England prepare for new strike ballot as pay talks stall ( School heads in England strike action)
NAHT has blames education secretary Gillian Keegan’s refusal to negotiate until teacher stoppages are called off.
Headteachers may soon be reballoted for strike action to escalate pressure on the government, as their union described the chances of talks over pay as a “false hope”.
All four education unions expressed disbelief and exasperation after education secretary Gillian Keegan turned down their request for negotiations mediated by the official conciliation service Acas to end the current impasse.
In a letter last March 8, Keegan continued to insist no talks could happen unless the National Education Union (NEU) paused the national walk-outs scheduled for the following Wednesday and Thursday . While the NEU voted for strike action, in January the National Association for Headteachers’s vote fell just short of the threshold.
School heads in England strike action
Members of Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, have voted to accept a pay deal, ending its long-running school strikes, it confirmed on Friday. Ninety per cent of members backed the sixth offer made to them, which will result in a 7% pay rise backdated to April 2022, a further 5% next month and another 2% in January.
Whiteman said unions were still having “really successful” talks in Wales, where the NEU paused strikes last week in response to an increased government pay offer. “It’s only in England that we can’t even seem to find a way to sit down in the same room with the government,” he said.
He insisted that bringing in a mediator was an attempt to “create a space beyond the public posturing”. Mary Bousted, general secretary of the NEU, said of Keegan’s letter this week: “We were gobsmacked by their lack of nous. She has said the strikes are a distraction. But they shouldn’t distract her. They should focus her.”
Accusing the government of constantly denigrating hardworking teachers, she added: “I think it is hard for people to understand just how unpopular this government is with teachers. The profession doesn’t trust them and it doesn’t believe ministers will negotiate in good faith.”
The NEU is the only education union so far to achieve the new threshold for strike action, and 50,000 teachers joined the union after it announced that its walk-outs would go ahead.
“They joined because they wanted to take action to demand change,” she said. “Teachers feel we need to do this to really shift the dial.”