30 August 2013
Across the world teachers are in dispute over pay cuts, testing and workload. In Mexico teachers have blockaded roads to airports and occupied government buildings as part of a campaign against tests which label children as failures and lead to teachers being dismissed. In Paraguay teachers have begun a hunger strike as part of a campaign on pay and pensions. In Colombia, Brazil, Greece, Seattle and Wyoming there are reports of teacher strikes. All are linked by a common thread. In countries where the wealthy remain untouched by austerity, school workers are seeing their terms and conditions worsened and the curriculum is also under attack.
In this country the two biggest teaching unions have agreed to continue the action begun by the strike in the North West in June, with rallies in London and Nottingham on 14th September, in Cambridge and Exeter on 21st September. A strike in the Midlands, Yorkshire, Eastern and part of Wales is planned for the week beginning 30th September to coincide with the Tory party conference.
In the week beginning 14th October there will be a strike in London, the South East, South West and the other half of Wales, with rallies and marches to be announced. This will then be followed by a one day national strike in the week beginning 18th November.
This is a serious plan of action and will see over half a million workers take strike action against a government that has stepped up the move to privatise education and is ripping up national pay bargaining. The strike has been triggered by the introduction of performance related pay but is part of the campaign to defend pensions and against a cut in pay equivalent to 16% for many teachers. We also see it as a fight to defend the sort of education that is not based on testing, targets and Ofsted.
We expect that the rallies and strikes will be well supported and we hope to see other unions looking to take action alongside us. It is vital that the strike in November is not the end of the campaign. Teachers will need support and solidarity from parents and fellow trade unionists to make this a fight we can win.