Schools are closed for several days when teachers go on strike

children in a classroom

NEU members vote on industrial action this week (Image: PA)

Strikes will close most government schools in England and Wales for several days over the next two months if teachers vote for industrial action this week.

The National Education Union (NEU) has rejected a salary offer of five percent and is expected to announce the result of its ballot on January 16th.

It is assumed that the NEU is planning several days of action from the beginning of February to mid-March.

Two more teachers’ unions are voting this week, but NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney said the result was likely to be close.

“I think we’re going to cross the threshold, but there’s a chance we won’t,” he told The Observer.

If the vote is successful, Mr Courtney said: “We will call on members of all schools in England and Wales to strike – many will have to close.” The union is aware that they must try not to alienate parents, and most would understand the teachers’ approach, he added.

He said, ‘I think parents are starting to pick up on the everyday situation in schools — that their child’s math teacher may never have gotten a math degree, that there’s such a rapid turnover of teachers all the time, it’s a lot of disruption.’

The NEU is demanding a 12 percent pay rise and claims its 450,000 members have lost a quarter of their salaries to inflation since 2010.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said she hoped the government’s proposed anti-strike legislation would not apply to schools. She told the Sunday Times: “We’re definitely not trying to be antagonistic.”

Meanwhile, teachers in Scotland are expected to go on strike later this week.

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Justin Scacco

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