Teachers joining industrial action

The Government is facing the growing threat of the biggest strike for generations after union leaders announced that teachers are to join a day of industrial action next month.

Christine Blower blamed Michael Gove for the strike
Christine Blower blamed Michael Gove for the strike

The National Union of Teachers said its members in England and Wales will be involved in action on July 10.

Other public sector workers including council employees and civil servants are being balloted for strikes, mainly over pay.

Unison leader Dave Prentis has warned the Government it could be facing the biggest day of action since the General Strike.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The Government is still failing to make progress on our trade dispute over teachers' pay, pensions and workload. The talks are still only about the implementation of Government policies, not about the fundamental issues we believe to be detrimental to education and the profession.

"For teachers, performance related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week, is unsustainable.

"This action is the responsibility of a Government and Education Secretary who are refusing point blank to accept the damage their reforms are doing to the teaching profession. The consequences of turning teaching into a totally unattractive career choice will most certainly lead to teacher shortages.

"Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils. This date has been chosen to cause minimum disruption to examinations.

"Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world but is being made one of the worst by Michael Gove and the Coalition. It is time they listened. Michael Gove can still avoid the strike by engaging in serious negotiations on substantive issues."

An Education Department spokesperson said: "There is no justification for further strikes. The unions asked for talks, we agreed to their request and talks are ongoing. Ministers have also met frequently with the unions and will continue to do so.

"Further strike action will only disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession.

"We know that the vast majority of our teachers and school leaders are hard-working and dedicated professionals.

"That is why we are giving teachers more freedoms than ever and cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy. In fact, teaching has never been more attractive, more popular or more rewarding.

"A record number of top graduates are now applying to become teachers and there have never been more teachers in England's classrooms, with a rise of 9,000 in the last year."