Most state schools in England and Wales will close their doors for a few days in the coming months if the country’s largest teachers’ union votes to go on strike, reports suggest.
The National Education Union (NEU) is said to expect its members – whose voting ends on Friday – to vote for mass industrial action.
said NEU Secretary General Kevin Courtney Observer that actions taken by its members alone would be enough to close many schools on strike days, causing the most widespread school to close for many years.
In the coming days, the results of strike votes of other teachers’ unions, including NASUWT and NAHT, are expected. The NEU is expected to announce its verdict on January 16.
Mr Courtney told the paper he was confident the vote would turn in favor of industrial action, but admitted he was not sure the strike threshold would be reached.
Current legislation requires union ballots to attract at least 50 percent turnout, and strikes must be supported by 40 percent of all members.
On the strike vote, Courtney said: “We will call on members of all schools in England and Wales to go on strike – many would have to close.”
Observer understands that the 45,000 NEU are planning strikes lasting several days, from early February to mid-March. The action is expected to include a mix of national and regional strikes.
The NEU is demanding a 12% wage increase for its members – a far cry from the 5% increase offered to teachers by the government.
But the newspaper reports that the NEU is considering taking ministers seriously in the negotiations if they offered a closer 9 per cent of “full funding” by the government.
Courtney said there was still time for the government to “put money on the table”, hold meaningful pay talks and potentially suspend strikes to make room for negotiations.
This comes as Scotland faces a major teachers’ strike. In Scotland, members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) will leave on January 10 and 11, and members of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) on the second day.
NASUWT announced last month that it would begin strikes in elementary schools on January 10, followed by strikes in secondary schools the next day.
The union is demanding a fully funded 12 per cent wage for 2022-23 and has said the current pay offer by ministers represents a further reduction in real wages.