NASUWT leader tells government: “We have no other option but to take industrial action”

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Teachers have warned escalating industrial action if attacks on their profession continue.

Speaking ahead of the NASWUT’s annual conference this weekend, general secretary Chris Keates said: “In the light of all the government is doing to teachers, it is inevitable that consideration of the escalation of our current industrial action will be high on the agenda.

“What other response can there be to a Coalition which is not prepared to engage with the profession and arrogantly presses ahead with ideological policies based more on an irrational contempt for public services and public service workers than doing the best for children and young people?”

The meeting in Birmingham is being held amid a background of savage and unnecessary cuts to education provision, increasing job insecurity and relentless government attacks on teachers’ pay, working conditions and professionalism.

High on the agenda will be the debate on the next phase of the Union’s Standing up for Standards industrial action campaign, which began with a day of strike action on November 30th, followed immediately on December 1st by continuous action short of strike action to enforce teachers’ contractual entitlements.

Chris Keates said: “This conference will be a referendum on the Coalition government’s performance so far and it will undoubtedly be found deeply wanting. The depth of anger and frustration is evident in the motions balloted by members for debate.

“There has been no respite from the attacks on every aspect of a teacher’s working life and this is inevitably taking its toll. An NASUWT survey of over 17,500 teachers conducted last month revealed a depressing picture of concern and demoralisation.

“Over half of teachers said they were seriously considering leaving teaching altogether. Almost half of teachers do not believe that their professional opinions are valued. Over a third felt that their school buildings were not fit for them to teach in or for pupils to learn in. Over a third felt they did not have the resources they need to teach.

“But the most damning indictment of this government is that 97% felt that this government’s policies would not raise standards of education.

“In September, teachers will be in the second year of the pay freeze and will have had six months of increased pension contributions, reducing the salary of a new teacher by over £3,000 and an experienced teacher by over £5,500.

“New punitive performance management and capability procedures will also be imposed. The continuation of the obsessive pursuit of academisation just adds to the turmoil and completes the conditions for the perfect storm in the autumn term.”

 


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