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Wiltshire teachers back plans for strikes, say unions
Teaching unions in Wiltshire say members back plans for a series of strikes over a continuing with row with the Government over changes to pay, pensions and workload.
On Monday the two largest teaching unions the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT announced that there will be a series of localised strikes across England starting in the summer in the north west. No date has yet been set for strikes in Wiltshire.
The unions are protesting against a pension age of 68 or higher and performance related pay for teachers.
Mike Harrison, secretary of Wiltshire NUT, said increased pension contributions was already affecting teachers.
He also said: “The pay proposals drastically alter years of a national pay structure. There’s no evidence to show performance related pay works. Teaching is a collaborative and co-operative profession and it’s very difficult to individualise. There is also increasing concern about workload. Since September the workload pressure and intense scrutiny teachers are under has increased.
“Our members would support strike action in support of pay and pensions. It’s part of our job to try and persuade parents to support us and I think a lot of them do. They understand how hard teachers work on behalf of their children.”
Ian Phillips, secretary of Wiltshire NASUWT, said: “The last thing members want to do, to be honest, is strike but when they are not being listened to by Government there is little option but to take further action.
“Do people want an effective teaching force and a profession for people to go into or do they want a demoralised teaching profession? It’s (strike action) not something we want to do but it’s really something that is necessary for the future of education in this country.”
The Department for Education said it was disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT had decided to take strike action.
A spokesman said: “Industrial action will disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the county.
“We think giving schools the freedom to reward good performance is much fairer than current arrangements which see the vast majority of teachers automatically getting a pay rise each year. We have met frequently with the NUT and NASUWT to discuss their concerns and will continue to do so.”