Over 1,200 London teachers packed into the most militant rally called by the National Union of Teachers for 14 years on Tuesday of this week. They were in an angry and confident mood. NUT general secretary Doug McAvoy announced a limited form of action-not covering for vacant posts-to win increased London pay and end the scandal of teacher shortages.
The audience applauded that but wanted more. Over 70 percent gave a deafening cheer and a standing ovation to calls from the floor for strike action. The teacher shortage means increasing numbers of schools are kept running only because teachers are doing extra work to cover unfilled posts and absences. London teachers are to ballot on action over cover, and ballots are also to take place in Leicester, Hertfordshire and Doncaster.
One Leicester teacher says, 'Feelings are running high. People have had enough.'