Socialist Worker

Education round-up - teachers vote on pay fight

Issue No. 2637

Teachers march in central London last year

Teachers march in central London last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

An indicative ballot of NEU union members for action over pay and school funding was due to end on Friday this week.

Activists were pushing right to the last minute to win the biggest possible vote for action.

Workers are being asked to vote for strikes to demand a 3.5 percent pay rise for all teachers, and for more funding for schools.

The vote takes place as a new report has exposed rising debts in schools.

The Education Policy Institute found that over 30 percent of secondary schools were in deficit last year—compared to 8.1 percent in 2014.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said the rise is “a direct consequence of the government’s refusal to adequately fund the education system”.

“There are 326,000 more pupils than there were in 2015-16 and yet there are 5,000 fewer teachers and 10,700 fewer staff over the same period,” he said.

“This is a government that appears to care nothing for the quality of education our children and young people receive.

“It is time they listened to the headteachers, teachers, school staff and parents who are saying ‘enough is enough’.”

Battling to beat academies

Teachers at Barclay school in Stevenage were set to strike on Wednesday this week against the school becoming an academy.

The action follows a strike in December, and NEU union members plan a further three-day walkout from Tuesday 22 January.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney spoke at a big public meeting for parents and students last week.

And over 2,000 people have signed a petition against the academy plan.

The Future Academies Multi-Academy Trust is due to take over the school on

1 February. Workers were told the news on the last day of term in December.

NEU regional secretary for the eastern region Paul McLaughlin said this was a “cynical and desperate act designed to cause maximum anxiety and disruption”.

He said workers were prepared to resist the “hostile takeover” of the school.

Send messages of support to NEU rep Jill Borcherds at [email protected] and Barhey Singh, divisional secretary, at [email protected] Go to for more information

NEU union members at Galliard Primary School in Edmonton, north London, were set to strike on Thursday this week.

Workers are fighting a plan for the school to become an academy along with four other schools in the area—Wilbury, Fleecefield, Raynham and Brettenham.

Workers have appealed for supporters to join them on the picket line.

The fight against forced academisation—a meeting hosted by the Anti-Academies Alliance. Saturday 19 January, 1-3pm, Wesley Hotel (Robin Smith Room), Euston St, London NW1 2EZ

FE colleges are to strike

UCU union members at 16 further education colleges in England are set to strike over pay.

Bosses have failed to make an adequate pay offer.

Fourteen colleges—Abingdon and Witney, Bridgwater and Taunton, City of Wolverhampton, Coventry, East Sussex, Harlow, Hugh Baird, West Thames, Bath, Bradford, Croydon, Lambeth, New College Swindon and Petroc in Devon—will strike on 29 and 30 January. Those at Leicester will strike on

29 and 31 January, while those at Kendal will be out on 29 January and 12 February.

Universities ballot is on

Around 70,000 workers across 143 universities are balloting for strikes over pay and conditions. The ballot of UCU union members ends on 22 February.

Workers are balloting after bosses offered a below-inflation 2 percent pay deal.

The union said pay in higher education has dropped by 21 percent in real terms since 2009.

It also wants universities to take action on the gender pay gap, insecure contracts and workloads.

UCU head of policy Matt Waddup said that universities have “failed to engage” with the union and in doing so “undermined the credibility of national bargaining”.

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