Teachers’ Strike: Why Are They Walking Out?
After the biggest teaching union voted in favour of industrial action, thousands of members will join two million public sector workers in a mass walkout on November 30.
The dispute with the Government comes down to reforms to public sector pensions as well as job cuts and working hours.
Lord Hutton reviewed public sector pensions earlier this year and proposed that nurses, teachers and other public sector workers should work until 65 but for lower pensions. He also suggested that public sector pensions should be linked to average earnings rather than final salaries.
The Government has said the change are unavoidable because greater life expectancy and the national debt makes the current pension bill unsustainable.But unions have hit out at the proposals, which would mean teachers and other public sector staff would be out of pocket.
Announcing the results of the ballot, in which 82 per cent voted for a strike, Chris Keates, General Secretary, said: “Teachers have been faced with a rising tide of excessive workload and a series of attacks on their profession, including unjust pension reforms, worsening pay and conditions of service, and increasing job insecurity.
“Teachers’ conditions of service are inextricably linked to providing the highest standards of education for all pupils.
“The Coalition Government needs now to take seriously the concerns voiced by the teachers today.”Other unions including Unite, which represents workers at West Midlands Police Authority, the British Film Institute, Mersey Tunnels and Greater Manchester Transport, also support action to protest against changes that will mean staff work longer for less.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the Government had responded to the outcry with a “new generous settlement” that was “beyond the dreams of most private employees.” He added: “I urge the trade unions to devote their energy to reaching agreement and not to unnecessary and damaging strike action, which is often on the basis of low turnout.”