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Teachers plan national strikes in England

STRIKE: Teachers protesting in 2008 (PA)

DISGRUNTLED TEACHERS are set to go on a one-day national strike before Christmas because the Government is failing to meet union demands concerning working conditions and pay.

The NUT and NASUWT, two of the largest teachers’ unions that represent 90 per cent of all teachers, today confirmed their intention to take joint industrial action in response to “the continued refusal of the Secretary of State to genuinely engage… to resolve trade disputes”.

The unions penned in October 17 as the date on which strike action would halt school classes in London, and North East, South East and South West regions of England. October 1 is the planned strike day for Eastern, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside regions.

The Department for Education (DfE) said the development was “disappointing”.

Unions pinned personal blame on Education Secretary Michael Gove for failing to settle the dispute and having “demoralised” teachers.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action. It is a great shame that the Education Secretary has let things get to this stage.

“With pay pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked and an Education Secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate teachers now however have no other choice.

BLAMED: Unions say Michael Gove has "demoralised the entire profession" of teaching (PA)

“Michael Gove has demoralised an entire profession, it is time that he started to listen for the sake of teachers, pupils and education.”

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates added: “The attacks on teachers are relentless.

“The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on their pay, conditions and professionalism.

“Teachers will be angered by the recklessness of the Secretary of State’s continuing failure to take seriously their concerns and engage in genuine discussions to address them.”

A DfE spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.

“In a recent poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70 per cent either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.”

Later today, Gove is expected to give a speech on teaching.

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