Schools across England and Wales to shut for several days if majority of teachers back vote to strike

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Schools across England and Wales may see biggest shutdown in years if union ballots for strike action

Most state schools throughout England and Wales will close completely on days strike action takes place should a majority of teachers vote in favour of industrial action. The National Education Union (NEU) will put the vote to its members in what could be the country’s biggest shutdown for years.

The NEU ballot ends on Friday and the union expects that the vote will approve the action, and trigger a huge shutdown for schools throughout the nation. Should the action be approved by its members the strike action would take place across several days throughout February and March.

In the event of the action going ahead the NEU’s general secretary, Kevin Courtney said: “We will call on members in all schools in England and Wales to strike – many would have to close.”

It’s expected that the strike action will take place following last year’s preliminary ballot which saw members vote for a formal ballot to strike action for better wages. When asked if they agreed that teachers should receive a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise, 98% of the teacher members said Yes.  The NEU is looking for a pay rise of 12% rather than the 5% offered so far by the government for most teachers.

Schools are set to close in January as teachers prepare to walk out again in pay dispute.  Picture: Lisa Ferguson.Schools are set to close in January as teachers prepare to walk out again in pay dispute.  Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
Schools are set to close in January as teachers prepare to walk out again in pay dispute. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

At the time, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the NEU , said:  "Today’s ballot result is a clear statement from teachers that they cannot go on like this. Their pay has been eroded considerably in recent years, and with the growing cost-of-living crisis, our members will face even greater challenges to make ends meet.”

They added: “It is regrettable that we have reached this point, but enough is enough. A yes vote will be our recommendation in the ballot, and we will use that mandate to demand from the Government a serious answer to more than a decade of declining pay. It is time not only to value education but to value educators."

In addition to NEU, other teaching unions such as the NASUWT and the headteachers’ union, the NAHT, will also receive results of ballots on strike action in the next few days. The unions are said to be coordinating strikes and strike dates.

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