Thousands Of Teachers Join Uk Schools In Full Day Strikes

Thousands Of Teachers Join Uk Schools In Full Day Strikes

By Gavin Mackintosh-

Thousands of teachers have joined over half  of  Uk schools on strike action today, Wednesday.

A strike by teachers in the National Education Union involving an estimated 60%  of their staff  commenced today after talks with the government failed.

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Teachers in Scotland are taking part in a third week of rolling strikes, with Clackmannanshire and Aberdeen affected today. Civil servants, train and bus drivers and university lecturers are also on strike, in  one of the biggest day of industrial action in a decade.

Staff at the Student Loans Company, which administers tuition fee and maintenance loans to tertiary students across the UK, have also walked out today, as part of the strike action by members of the PCS civil servants union.

“We have taken steps to ensure continuity of service for our customers,” a spokesperson for the SLC said.

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PCS members at the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England, are also on strike, as are staff at the Department for Education and at Ofsted, the schools inspectorate for England. Ofsted has said it will not conduct scheduled inspections of schools during strike days.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, told this publication he had “warned the government our dispute would escalate if they did not listen, and they did what they do best, which is not listen.

Union bosses confirmed following a meeting with the education secretary Gillian Keegan failed to produce any results.

The dispute is  mainly over working conditions and pay, which the National Education Union says has seen a real-terms cut since 2010.

The education secretary said it is “hugely disappointing” that the strikes are going ahead, saying they will have a “significant impact on children’s education”
Strikes are also planned on March 2, 15 and 16

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, told The Eye Of Media.Com  that the British government was not serious about avoiding today’s strike.

”We met with government representatives yesterday, but they are clearly not serious abut negotiating a deal to resolve the crisis.

“There was no offer put on the table by the government, we just went round in circles going over the same old ground. The Secretary of State knows we are serious about wanting a deal, but the issues being raised by our members are not being taken seriously enough. This government needs to appreciate the high commitments teachers  make in many primary and secondary schools today, many have even go beyond the call of duty in the past few years in raising standards in both primary and secondary schools. They must be appreciated”.

NEU members generally believe the Uk government have for decades failed to appreciate the efforts and headway they have made in many schools, especially state schools, when it comes to inspiring pupils , raising their enthusiasm, and many times liaising with their parents and guardians to bring the best out of their children. Many teachers have over the years complained of feeling burnt out due to the huge pressures of the job.

Today’s closures will leave school pupils to their own devices for the duration of the strikes, with only the very motivated students likely to pursue their studies at home.

Undisciplined students are likely to congregate in one another’s homes or roam the street during normal school hours to occupy their time.

Most primary schools are expected to remain open, according to information from the union, but  working parents of pupils attending primary schools that are closed will face the challenge of finding adults to look after their young children at home . Those whose children have tutors might be in for a higher pay day when schools are shut..

Secondary schools kept open will operate as normal throughout the duration of the   closures

In a joint statement, Bousted and fellow joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said Keegan “squandered an opportunity to avoid strike action” at today’s meeting

“The government has been unwilling to seriously engage with the causes of strike action.”

It means the first of six days of strike action planned throughout February and March will go ahead on Wednesday.

It comes after the NEU confirmed it had registered 38,000 new members since announcing the outcome of its strike ballot on January 16.

New members are eligible to join the strike even if they were not a member during the ballot. Around 300,000 teachers in England and Wales were balloted for strike action.

But schools won’t get updated figures from the NEU for the number of staff in their schools who could walk out.

The union said it was “only required to provide to employers the number of members in any workplace who we are intending to call to take action at the time we serve the statutory notice of action”.

“Eligible teacher members in England…can join the NEU up to and including the day of strike and take part in the action. Therefore, in many schools the number of members will now be higher than the number of members listed on the statutory notices sent to employers.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT described the meeting as unprouctive.

“This was unsurprising as the secretary of state was unable to make any offer on the eve of industrial action. That being said, there is an agreement that further talks will take place and we continue to hope a resolution can be found.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL school leaders’ union, who also joined the meeting, said parents “will have been looking for the government to avert the planned strike on Wednesday”.

“Instead, the government continues to talk around the issues rather than putting anything on the table which allows for any meaningful negotiation. It is deeply disappointing.”

He said Keegan was “clearly constrained” in what she can do by wider government, “even though there is overwhelming evidence that we have a full-blown teacher recruitment and retention crisis”.

“We are sorry to report that there is therefore no resolution to the dispute and the strike is set to go ahead.”

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