Is it time for teachers to get a fair pay rise? YOUR VERDICT
Teachers in England and Wales vote for strike action over pay
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Thousands of teachers in England and Wales are set to strike across seven days of industrial action in February and March. The walkouts over pay are expected to affect more than 23,000 schools, but individual schools will only be affected by four of the seven days. However, a new poll of Express.co.uk readers has found over 70 per cent do not support teachers having a fair pay rise.
The National Education Union (NEU) received overwhelming support in favour of strike action with 9 out of 10 members voting in support, with the ballot surpassing the 50 per cent legal turnout threshold. The NEU said the vote showed teachers were not prepared to “stand by” and see the education service “sacrificed” due to “a toxic mix of low pay and excessive workload”.
Headteachers in England will not take strike action after the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) union ballot failed to meet turnout requirements.
In a statement, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, said: “This is not about a pay rise but correcting historic real-terms pay cuts. Teachers have lost 23 per cent in real-terms since 2010, and support staff 27 per cent over the same period. The average five per cent pay rise for teachers this year is some seven per cent behind inflation. Amida cost of living crisis, that is an unsustainable situation.”
They added: “The Government must know there is going to have to be a correction on teacher pay. They must realise that school support staff need a pay rise. If they do not, then the consequences are clear for parents and children.”
In a poll that ran from 11:30am on Thursday, January 12, to 12:30pm on Thursday, January 19, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Is it time for teachers to get a fair pay rise to protect children’s education?”
In total, 1,326 people cast their votes with the vast majority of readers, 71 per cent (935 people) answering “no” against teachers having a fair pay rise.
Meanwhile, 28 per cent (373 people) said “yes” they are deserving, and a further one per cent (18 people) said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed teacher pay.
The majority of readers thought teachers were paid well already and were not deserving of a pay rise ,like, username yanowski, who said: “They get well paid for what they do.”
Similarly, username JL77 wrote: “No they are already well paid.”
Another, username Miggy Mig, added: “Teachers get paid enough!”
And username lioness55 said: “Sorry, but they get enough pay and perks.”
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Other readers commented that teachers should not be given a pay rise in the current economic climate. Username methuselah said: “Not at this time. When we are out of recession maybe then.”
Username NorthernGeezer said: “Maybe a cost of living increase, nothing more!”
Meanwhile, username The Aviator said: “If teachers could raise the standards of education in England and Wales, then and only then should they get a pay rise.”
Yet some argued teaching staff deserved a fair pay rise, including username Put our grandchildren first, who said: “Yes, of course, they should receive a ‘significant’ pay rise.”
The Department for Education offered a five percent pay rise to most teachers for the current school year but the NEU has asked for a rise above inflation. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said she is “disappointed” teaching unions decided to strike. Another meeting is planned for Friday to go through the pay offer on the table “line by line”.
Ms Keegan told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “Teachers are doing a brilliant job… but we need children in school now. I’m disappointed in the one union that has decided to go on strike. Our children don’t deserve it, to be honest. We do need to keep teachers and children in school.”
She continued: “And I will work with you. You don’t need to strike to get my attention. I will meet with people. I’ll be as constructive as possible. But we do need to be fair. And the number one thing we need to do is tackle inflation.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “She [Ms Keegan] reiterated that strike action would be highly damaging to children’s education, particularly following the disruption experienced over the past two years. Discussions will continue this week, ahead of the planned strike action.”
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