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Teachers’ Union NEU Is Thinking About Going On Strike Against Government’s Pay Increase Proposal

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The National Education Union (NEU), the biggest teaching union in England, is pushing its members to consider going on strike later this year against what it considers to be a “insulting” wage increase that the government has suggested.

To determine support for industrial action requesting a pay raise above inflation for the 2024–2025 period, completely funded by the government, the NEU launched an indicative poll on Saturday. There would be a formal strike vote if the ballot passed.

This action follows the Department of Education’s submission of a proposal to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), in which the department asked for a salary increase that would be “more sustainable” for school finances as opposed to a percentage increase. The general secretary of NEU, Daniel Kebede, has sharply criticized Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s stance, calling it dismissive.

According to Kebede, “Rather than allow the government to undo the gains of last year, the NEU will seek to push forward in its campaign for a long-term correction on pay.”

The NEU emphasizes that sufficient financing is required to afford a wage increase and advocates for more funding to guarantee equitable compensation and sufficient staffing levels in schools.

The Department for Education cites a 12% increase in teachers’ pay over the previous two years as well as predictions of lower inflation, but the NEU and other unions draw attention to data from their own survey that indicates a rise in workload and a sizeable percentage of teachers thinking about leaving the field.

The National Association of Head Teachers’ general secretary, Paul Whiteman, expressed grave worry over the government’s pay policy, highlighting the problem in teacher and leader recruitment and retention brought on by real-term wage cutbacks and rising inflation during the previous 10 years.

An important development in the ongoing discussion about the compensation and working conditions for teachers in England will be the result of the indicative ballot held by the NEU and the possibility of strike action.

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