An NEU industrial action ballot involving more than 300,000 teachers in England and Wales closed last week and saw more than 90% voting to walk-out in their dispute over pay.
The ball is now in the government’s court, but an initial meeting last week between the Department for Education (DfE) and four education unions including the NEU and a second meeting on Wednesday (January 18) have yielded “no progress” (see later).
The dispute centres on historic real-terms cuts to teachers’ pay which equate to as much as 13% since 2010 (Sibieta, 2023).
The latest pay settlement has proved the final straw for many. Coming in September, it saw the government agreed to pay rises of 8.9% for new teachers falling to 5% for more experienced teachers. However, against the backdrop of soaring inflation, which hit 10.5% in December, and a cost of living crisis, it means most teachers are likely to experience real-terms salary cuts this year (Sibieta, 2023).
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