Merseyside teachers set to strike

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Scene from the October 2013 strikes. Flickr © raysto

Meryseyside teachers will be taking part in a walkout next month in a long-running dispute with the government over pensions, pay and working conditions.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) will be staging a one-day strike on March 26th, after they felt their concerns were not being taken seriously by Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

There have been a number of strikes held in the last few years, but recently action was called off while the unions were in talks with the government.

Lena Davies of NASUWT told JMU Journalism: “We have called for Michael Gove to meet with us to discuss his reforms, which we believe are having a deeply damaging impact on teachers and on the education for children and young people.

“Members of the NASUWT have already taken several days of strike action as part of the dispute and have been involved in ongoing action short of strike action.”

An annual survey conducted by NASUWT showed that 53% of teachers said their job satisfaction had declined in the last year. Almost two thirds had also considered leaving their job and over half have considered giving up the teaching profession altogether.

All of these stats showed an increase since the survey began in 2011.

Lena Davies blamed this on the strict conditions that are placed on teachers: “We believe these results are down to the relentless attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions by the Coalition Government, coupled with the continuing problem of excessive workloads and the increasingly punitive inspection system.

“The NASUWT is campaigning for all children and young people to be taught by qualified teachers who are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and who have working conditions which enable them to focus on teaching and learning.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The Secretary of State needs to take the window of opportunity the NASUWT has offered to him to build trust and confidence with the teaching profession.

“The Union is continuing to press the Secretary of State to engage seriously in meetings focused on dispute resolution.”

Members of NASUWT will be meeting this Friday to consider further industrial action.

In a separate dispute over the same issues, members of the lecturers’ union, the UCU, staged a two-hour walk-out at Liverpool universities today, following a one-day strike last Thursday.

About Lucy Bannister, JMU Journalism