Next week, the National Education Union will take strike action in England and Wales over three days:
- Tuesday 28 February 2023: all eligible members in the following NEU regions of England: Northern, North West, Yorkshire & The Humber.
- Wednesday 1 March 2023: all eligible members in the following NEU regions of England: East Midlands, West Midlands, Eastern.
- Thursday 2 March 2023: all eligible members in Wales and the following NEU regions of England: London, South East, South West.
This follows an initial day of strike action on 1 February in pursuit of a fully-funded, above inflation pay rise.
National spokespersons will be appearing at rallies around the country:
- Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, at Manchester rally. Assembles noon at Liverpool Road, near Castlefield Bowl (M3 4JN), before a march from 12.15 through central Manchester (Liverpool Road, Deansgate, Peter Street, Oxford Street, Oxford Road) with a rally from 1.00pm at All Saints Park (M1 7DU).
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, at Leeds rally. Assembles in front of Leeds Art Gallery, Victoria Gardens (LS1 3AA) from 11.30am, with march from 12 noon, then rally at Millennium Square from 1pm.
- Louise Atkinson, National President, will be joining a picket at Cumwhinton School, Carlisle CA4 8DU before heading to the regional rally, assembly Newcastle Civic Centre by Tyne River God Statue (NE1 8QH) at noon, march from 12.30pm and rally at the Monument from 1pm (NE1 5AF).
- Niamh Sweeney, Deputy General Secretary, will also appear at the Newcastle rally.
- Mary Bousted at Birmingham rally, assemble 11am at Centenary Square, B1 1HQ.
- Kevin Courtney at Cambridge rally, assemble 11:30am at Parker’s Piece, CB1 1NA.
- Niamh Sweeney at Leicester rally, assemble noon at Jubilee Square (LE1 4LD), then march to Athena (LE1 1QD) for rally at 1pm.
- Rachel Curley at Nottingham rally, assemble noon at Forest Fields (NG7 6LD), then march to Old Market Square (NG1 2HU ) for rally at 1 pm.
- Mary Bousted at Cardiff national rally for Wales, gathering from 11.45am outside The Senedd, Cardiff Bay, CF99 1SN. Speeches will commence at 12.30pm.
- Kevin Courtney at Chichester rally, assemble 11.30am at Westgate Leisure Centre (PO19 1RJ). March from noon via Ave de Chartres, West Street, South Street, St John’s Street, East Street, Guildhall Street, for rally at Priory Park from 12.30pm.
- Niamh Sweeney at Bristol rally, assemble College Green (BS1 5TR) from 12 noon, for a march then rally back at College Green.
- Rachel Curley at Plymouth rally, assemble 11am at Jigsaw Gardens (PL1 1QH), march from 11.30am to Plymouth Guildhall (PL1 1BA) for rally between 12.30pm-1.30pm.
Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said:
“On 1 February, the NEU’s first day of strike action on pay, we served noticed to Gillian Keegan. We warned that she had until 28 February, our next day of action in England, to come up with a serious offer for our members to consider. At our meeting on 15 February no offer was made. A week later, the Department for Education’s submission to the STRB showed that it was business as usual. It is the Government’s wish to offer yet another real-terms pay cut in 2023/24.
“The responsibility to avert further strikes was on the education secretary, and she has failed.
“Gillian Keegan has called a series of meetings with education unions in recent weeks, but her latest proposal was to meet only on the condition that we call off strikes. In the absence of anything for us to take to membership for consideration, we are unable to agree to these demands.
“This Saturday, our national executive meets. It is not too late for Gillian Keegan to step up and give our members a new, serious offer on pay. One that addresses this year and next, rather than yet more talk about the Government’s existing position. If her comment in the letter of 21 February is correct, that she has agreed with the Prime Minister and Chancellor to talks to resolve the dispute, then such an offer should now be in her gift.
“Our members have broken through the threshold for ballots, which are part of anti-union law and were designed never to be smashed. Our members have bravely taken strike action this month, having exhausted all other avenues. It has not gone unnoticed, too, that the NEU has added 49,000 new members since the result of our ballot was first announced. This is testament to the strength of feeling throughout the profession that enough is enough.
“The government’s education policy over 13 years, including pay, has driven the crisis in recruitment and retention. It is now commonplace for children to be taught by teachers who are working outside their subject areas. A third of teachers leave within five years of qualifying. The secondary school teachers training target this year was missed by 41%. Any rational government would start to question its own policies when the causes and results are as clear as day, and hugely damaging.
“We regret having to take strike action and the disruption it causes, but it is also self-evident that disruption to education is now part of a pupil’s daily life. This is the point we have repeatedly made to the education secretary. It is irrefutable, but she has offered no solutions. We want to find solutions.”
Further strike days are planned for England and Wales schools on 15 March and 16 March. Across the whole period of scheduled action, individual members will be called upon to strike four times.
The ballots of 300,000 teacher and support staff members in England and Wales opened on Friday 28 October 2022 and closed on Friday 13 January 2023. The threshold was passed for teacher members in England and Wales, and support staff in Wales. A full list of results can be found here: https://neu.org.uk/press-releases/neu-take-strike-action-over-pay
NEU to strike next week was published on FE News by NEU