Around 250,000 teachers across England and Wales will be balloted from Monday of next week on whether to take national, discontinuous strike action over pay.
The teachers, in the NUT union, rejected a below-inflation three-year pay offer earlier this year. The offer would give teachers a pay “rise” of 2.45 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2009 and 2010.
Teachers’ pay has gone up by less than inflation since 2004 – meaning year on year pay cuts in real terms.
Teachers are now organising to win the biggest possible yes vote in the ballot.
Sally Kincaid is the divisional secretary for Wakefield NUT. She told Socialist Worker, “Some 40 people came to an NUT meeting in Leeds last week to hear our acting general secretary Christine Blower. This included 12 people who had not been to one of our union meetings before.
“In Wakefield we had the biggest union meeting we’ve had in a long time. People had lots of questions – about the impact of the economic crisis for example.
“The meetings went through why we had to fight back now and what the impact would be if we had pay cuts.
“The trades council has organised leafleting in the city centre over public sector pay and we’re hoping to set up a joint meeting with them.”
It is crucial that activists and reps make sure that every union member is spoken to about the ballot.
Kevin Courtney from the NUT executive told Socialist Worker, “There have been a lot of positive discussions at NUT branch meetings over the ballot. The NUT is organising volunteers to ring round reps and make sure they are getting materials to all members in their schools.
“There are a lot of questions but a good mood – I think we can win the ballot, but we can’t take it for granted.”
The ballot opens on Monday 6 October and ends on 3 November.