Teachers in the NUT union across England and Wales are building for a yes vote in a ballot over whether to take strike action over pay.
The ballot began last week after teachers were offered below-inflation pay rises for the next three years.
Dave Clinch, divisional secretary of Devon NUT, told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had lots of positive meetings in schools and we plan to hold a regional rally in Plymouth on Wednesday of this week jointly organised by the NUT and UCU lecturers’ union.
“A strike would give people confidence in what will be a long battle for better pay.”
The UCU will ballot its members over pay from 14 March, and a yes vote could see lecturers and teachers striking together on 24 April. Members of both unions are working together to build the ballots.
Ken Muller, assistant secretary of Islington NUT in north London, spoke at a UCU meeting at City and Islington college last week.
“There were around 60 people there and a strong feeling for unity,” he said. “All schools that have met in Islington have voted overwhelmingly to support the strike ballot.”
Primary schools have also been organising meetings to discuss the ballot. “At our meeting everyone was up for the strike and there was a strong feeling about pay,” said Kate Jelly, joint NUT rep at Moreland primary school in north London.
Taking up wider political issues while building for the strike ballot has gone down well among teachers.
Last week Ealing NUT organised a 150-strong public meeting with author and poet Michael Rosen to discuss the government’s literacy strategy.
Teachers were angry about the gap between the kind of education Michael spoke about and the reality of how they are forced to teach.
A yes vote in the strike ballot would give confidence to workers across the public sector to fight against the pay freeze. But it could also be the start of a much broader battle for the future of education.