Schools could close over pension change row

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THE threat of strikes by teaching unions could affect schools across Wigan borough.

Both the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT - the two largest teaching unions - are to stage a series of strikes in the summer term across England and Wales in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload.

In a joint statement, the two unions said a series of localised strikes would begin on June 27 in the North West of England.

The statement said that unless the Government responded positively to their demands “a rolling programme of strike action will continue into the autumn term and will include a one day all-out national strike before the end of the autumn term”.

Between them the two unions represent nine out of 10 teachers. They are angry about changes to their pensions, increased workload and about government plans to bring in performance-related pay from September this year

They say the next phase of their joint campaign “to protect teachers and defend education” follows “the refusal” of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, “to genuinely engage with the NASUWT and NUT to seek to resolve our trade disputes with him.”

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The time has come for the Secretary of State to listen to the concerns of teachers and school leaders.

“He has recklessly pursued a relentless attack on the profession and teachers’ patience has been exhausted.

“The Secretary of State still has time to avoid widespread disruption in schools by responding positively and quickly to the reasonable demands we are making.”

The unions are planning a series of rallies and an escalation of their industrial action short of strike action.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are very disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than a quarter of teachers actually voted for.

“Industrial action will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.”