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Teaching unions threaten co-ordinated strikes as they brand Government ‘disrespectful in the extreme’

TEACHING unions have threatened co-ordinated strikes next month and branded the government’s failure to publish a leaked report recommending a 6.5 per cent pay rise “disrespectful in the extreme.”

In an open letter to the Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, the National Education Union (NEU) repeated calls for the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) report to be published and pay negotiations to restart immediately.

The union said that it had yet to receive a response to the calls, which the NEU and fellow teaching unions the ASCL, NAHT and NASUWT first made more than two weeks ago.

“We consider this delay in giving vital information to head teachers to be disrespectful in the extreme,” wrote NEU joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney.

“And we consider your failure to engage with the unions to discuss this year’s pay, the STRB report, workload and funding to be inexplicable.

“We are calling on you to publish the STRB report without further delay and to meet us next week in an effort to resolve the dispute and help to solve the problems facing our children’s schools.

“If you refuse to do this, next steps — including the option of our teacher members in England taking further strike action in the week beginning July 3 — will be considered by the NEU national executive at its meeting on June 17.”

The NEU, ASCL, NAHT and NASUWT have previously announced their intention to co-ordinate industrial action and are due to ballot members for strikes in the autumn term. 

The NEU letter came after Schools Minister Nick Gibb said that the Department for Education (DfE) was “considering the recommendations [in the STRB report] and will publish its response in the usual way, in due course.”

The STRB has recommended a 6.5 per cent pay rise for teachers after the NEU rejected a 4.3 per cent offer, the Sunday Times reported last month.

A NEU spokeswoman added: “The Education Secretary needs to be clear that burying her head in the sand will not work.

“If action was to be taken, this would affect nearly every school in England.”

Government statistics revealed this week that teacher vacancies have doubled over the past two years, with a record 44,000 leaving their jobs in 2022 alone. 

A DfE spokeswoman said: “The independent School Teachers Review Body has submitted its recommendations to government on teacher pay for 2023-24. We will be considering the recommendations and will publish our response in the usual way.”

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