School strikes called off as England’s biggest teaching union accepts pay rise

Members of the largest teaching union have accepted a 6.5% pay rise for teachers in England and voted to end strikes.
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The National Education Union (NEU) said 86% of its teacher members in England who took part in an electronic ballot voted to accept the progress made in the pay dispute and call off industrial action, with a 60% turnout.

It comes after teacher members of the NEU staged eight days of strike action in state schools in England since February in a pay dispute.

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Four education unions had been considering further walkouts in the autumn term, but their general secretaries recommended members accept the 6.5% pay rise for teachers in England offered earlier this month.

In a re-ballot of NEU teacher members in England on strike action, which opened in May before the pay offer was made, 95% supported renewing the union’s strike mandate for a further six months, with a turnout of 53%.

But the NEU has said the electronic ballot result on the Government’s 6.5% pay offer for 2023-24 means that further strike action over pay will now not go ahead in the autumn term.

An electronic ballot of the NEU’s support staff members in England also saw 85% accept the pay offer, with a turnout of 46%.

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Members of the NEU on strike outside Fleetwood High SchoolMembers of the NEU on strike outside Fleetwood High School
Members of the NEU on strike outside Fleetwood High School
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On July 13, the Government agreed to implement the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB)’s recommendation of a 6.5% increase for teachers in England from September this year.

Members of NASUWT union also accepted the STRB pay recommendation for 2023/24 on Monday, July 31.

77.6% of members who responded to the Union’s consultative survey indicated they were willing to accept the 6.5% increase.

However, just 18.4% of members responding to the survey said that the commitments announced by the Government to tackle excessive workload and working hours were sufficient.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), during an interview at their offices in central London (Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), during an interview at their offices in central London (Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), during an interview at their offices in central London (Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

Over 18,000 members responded to the survey.

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The NASUWT will be responding to the Government on the pay award and the Government’s response to the STRB Report, and to discuss matters for the resolution of its dispute.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in England have already voted to accept the pay rise from September.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) were expected to announce their members’ responses to the pay offer on Monday.

The Government has said the 6.5% pay award for teachers will be “fully funded”, with £525 million of additional funding for schools in 2023-24 and a further £900 million in 2024-25.

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The NEU’s electronic consultation did not include sixth form college teacher members as the pay increase is for teachers in state schools in England.

Joint NEU general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said: “As a democratic union, the NEU leadership promised members that any pay and funding offer given by the Government that warranted their consideration would be put to them. Members have spoken very clearly and in great numbers.

“The NEU submissions to the STRB went a long way towards changing the Government’s position on pay and funding. The strike action taken by our members also shifted the dial, securing the highest pay award for over thirty years. Members should be proud they have also secured extra funding for schools.”

They added: “The Government should be in no doubt that we will hold its feet to the fire on delivering for teachers and support staff on workload and funding and continue to represent the profession in future STRB consultations.

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“It remains the view of the NEU that school and college funding is far from adequate. It remains a commitment of the NEU to campaign for further increases in teacher pay.

“Everyone in the school and college community deserves an education system that attracts and keeps teaching staff, and one that ensures every child gets the attention and support they deserve. Our campaign for a better-funded education system will not go away.”

Education secretary Gillian Keegan described the decision as “good news” for teachers, parents, and children.

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