Teachers have called an England-wide strike on Tuesday 5 July against Tory funding cuts to education. The NUT union members voted by an overwhelming 92 percent for the action on a turnout of 25 percent.
Doug Morgan is assistant secretary of Birmingham NUT. He told Socialist Worker, “The magnificent result shows the strength of feeling among teachers. We are not going to be bullied by the government and are committed to standing up for education.”
Tory cuts could slash more than 20 percent from the education budget in some London boroughs. And they remain committed to pushing schools to become privately-run academies.
Jess Edwards is primary school teacher and NUT NEC member in London. She said, “The government agenda of austerity and privatisation threatens to destroy our schools. We are striking because schools budgets are being cut by a minimum of 13 percent and our kids are not worth 13 percent less than they were last year.
“We also want national terms and conditions for teachers in all schools. This government is weak and divided - we can win if we fight back.”
Kevin Courtney is acting general secretary of the NUT. He said the impact of the attacks on children’s education are “real and damaging”.
“Class sizes are increasing, subject choices are being cut and children are getting less individual attention,” he said. “We know that many parents share our concerns.”
Their attacks on education have sparked widespread anger and resistance—the walkout has the potential to win a high level of support.
Doug said, “The key now is to make the strike as solid as possible. We need as many people on the streets on 5 July and on picket lines. We have to show parents we’re striking to defend teachers' working conditions as they are students’ learning conditions.”
Teachers organised throughout the ballot to contact teachers in schools without reps to build the yes vote. Building for the ballot saw new teachers volunteer to be reps and new faces at union meetings.
“Now we have to think about how we can get into more schools in the run-up to the strike,” said Doug. “We should talk to as many teachers as possible to make the day as strong as it can be.”
The union previously said a summer strike would be just the start of a battle to drive back the Tory assault. An escalating programme of action would be a big blow for the Tories—and would have the power to win.