Tens of thousands of teachers across the North West will be taking strike action today (Thursday 27 June) as a further step in the NASUWT and NUT teacher unions’ dispute with the Secretary of State for Education over pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

The strike is the first in a planned national rolling programme of strikes across England and Wales which will continue in the Autumn term.

Teachers in the North West will gather at a series of rallies and marches in Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Chester to demonstrate their anger, frustration and concern.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Over the last three years the Coalition Government has mounted savage attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions of service. To justify these attacks and education reforms, the Secretary of State has sought to denigrate teachers and present our public education system as broken. As a result, the teaching profession is now in crisis.

“No teacher embarks on strike action lightly. No teacher has any wish to inconvenience pupils or parents or disrupt the provision of education, but a strong stand now must be made to protect the pay and conditions of service which make our schools world class.

“A stand must be made to defend the jobs of specialist teachers, which are being lost as a result of cuts and curriculum reform, and to ensure that all children are taught by qualified teachers.

“A stand must be made to resist excessive bureaucracy which is diverting teachers from their core role of focusing on teaching and learning.

“In short, teachers are standing up for standards.

“The responsibility for driving teachers to take industrial action rests entirely with an arrogant, reckless Secretary of State who is determined to sacrifice teachers, pupils and our public education service on the altar of his own flawed ideology.”

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said:

“We seriously regret the disruption that strike action in the North West of England will cause parents and pupils, but with the profession now under serious attack from the Government we have to take a stand to protect education and teachers. The North West will be taking the lead in sending a message to Michael Gove that teachers are not prepared to accept Government attacks on our pay, pensions and conditions.

“Not content with wanting teachers to get less pay and retire later, Michael Gove now wants to go ahead with ‘liberalising’ teachers’ working conditions such as the length of working days and hours and our entitlements on non-contact time and cover. Teachers are angry about the impact these imposed changes are having on the morale of the teaching profession, the recruitment and retention of teachers and on the provision of quality education for pupils.

“The NUT and the NASUWT are asking the Government to enter into genuine talks to resolve this dispute. The responsibility for today’s action rests with the failure of the Secretary of State to engage in meaningful negotiations.”

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