Ballot FAQs

Teachers and 6fc FAQs for preliminary ballot (2-28 March) 

Get out the vote

The simple act of an NEU rep talking to a member more than doubles voter turnout.
Use these talking points to help make the case in the preliminary ballot.

Talk to your members

Teachers in state-funded schools and sixth form colleges in England can read why they are being balloted and the rationale for the NEU executive committee recommends they vote YES here.

Teachers in state-funded schools in Wales can read the same here.

In short, we have to send a message to Government and employers, NOW, that education and its staff are at breaking point.

To save education, we must be willing to take action to ensure that educators get a fully funded inflation-plus pay increase and further funding to improve staffing levels in schools, colleges and education services.

This means rejecting any below-inflation pay offer and voting YES to action.

NEU Rule 10.1 stipulates that authorisation of a formal (postal) ballot for industrial action must follow “an indicative survey of members showing that such a ballot is likely to be successful and meet the legislative requirements.”

The purpose of a preliminary ballot is to determine the likelihood of success for a formal statutory postal ballot. Additionally, a successful preliminary ballot will put pressure on the Government to grant teachers a fully funded, inflation-plus pay rise.

The preliminary ballot will ask members whether they are prepared to take strike action for additional funding to secure a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise that constitutes a meaningful step towards a long-term correction in pay, and further funding to improve the levels of staffing in schools and colleges.

Our preliminary electronic ballot will ask teachers and leaders in state-funded schools and sixth form colleges in England and Wales the following two questions:

  • Do you agree that you should receive an above-inflation pay rise for 2024-25?
  • Would you vote YES to strike action for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise that constitutes a meaningful step towards a long-term correction in pay, and further funding to provide improved levels of staffing provision in schools, colleges and education services.

Your national executive recommends that you vote YES to both questions.

In Wales, members will be asked an additional question about whether they are prepared to take strike action against the Welsh Government’s proposals to reform the school year to cut the summer holiday to four weeks.

On Saturday, 2 March you will receive an email and text message containing your unique voting link. You can check that we hold the correct email address and mobile phone number for you at myNEU

Vote as soon as you receive the voting link and vote YES to taking strike action for additional funding to secure a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise.

If you have a problem with your voting link, can’t find it or have accidentally deleted it, please email [email protected]

The teachers’ preliminary electronic ballot will run from Saturday, 2 March to Thursday, 28 March.

Assuming the preliminary electronic ballot meets our goal of more than 60 per cent turnout and more than 90 per cent yes vote, the NEU executive will table an emergency motion for annual conference to confirm the timetable for a formal postal ballot in the summer term.

The formal ballot would run for at least ten weeks, opening as early as possible after Easter.

This formal statutory postal ballot will need to be undertaken before we take strike action.

Under the law, trade unions are required to get a 50 per cent turnout of all members eligible to vote. Within certain ‘important’ parts of the public sector, including education, you need to also get a 40 per cent YES vote of all those eligible to vote in order to take legal action.

If you have not received your preliminary electronic ballot link by Monday, 4 March, you will need to contact [email protected] to be sent a replacement link.

Teachers employed in state-funded schools and Sixth Form Colleges in England and Wales are eligible to vote in the teachers’ ballot.

Now the recognised unions have confirmed their above-inflation pay claim – for a £3,000 or 10% increase, whichever is greater - we will now consult our support staff members about their willingness to take strike action alongside the recognised unions in support of the claim. The NEU fully supports this claim, which would be a significant step towards repairing the real-terms pay cuts imposed since 2010.

This preliminary electronic ballot for support staff members in state-funded schools will open on Saturday 16 March.

When this preliminary ballot opens, support staff in Wales will be asked an additional question about whether they are prepared to take strike action against proposed changes to the school year.

We have also written to the NJC unions to indicate that we are preparing to consult our members on their willingness to take strike action in support of their pay claim, and to register our desire to work alongside them, in a general election year, to ballot our members to address the funding of jobs and conditions of service. You can read this letter here

A more detailed set of support staff FAQs can be found here

This ballot is for teacher members only, as it is the result of the decision by Government on what teacher pay will be for September 2024.

Supply teacher members who are not directly employed by a school or workplace cannot be called to take strike action, as their employer is an agency or other third party.

If you are directly employed as a teacher by a school in England and Wales, you are eligible to vote and need to ensure your details are up to date to reflect that via My NEU

Yes, you are included in the preliminary ballot. If, by Monday 4 March, you have not received your voting link please email [email protected]

No, Soulbury pay is negotiated separately. For the latest details about our Soulbury negotiations, including on pay, please click here.

No, pay is negotiated separately for staff working in FE colleges.

For the latest details on negotiations in FE colleges, including on pay, please click here.

Members working in independent schools are not part of this dispute, therefore the union is not balloting members in the independent sector.

However, we are calling on NEU workplace groups to submit inflation-plus pay claims using our Making a pay claim toolkit. The national executive of the NEU will authorise strike ballots in support of said pay claims in independent schools where requested by members and where majority support for action is demonstrated.

For further advice contact your NEU regional office.

You will get a vote in the electronic preliminary ballot, however if you will be on maternity leave when the union is likely to take the first day of action, you will not be included in the formal ballot. This is because we can only ballot those members who we can reasonably expect to call to take strike action.

If you are on maternity leave during any future strike action, this will not affect your maternity pay as you can only strike if you are available to work on a strike day.

The NASUWT national executive has agreed that it will also be consulting members over the coming weeks to take forward its campaigning, up to and including industrial action, to secure a Better Deal for Teachers on pay, workload, working hours and wellbeing. Read more here.

Although the leadership unions ASCL and NAHT have yet to announce similar plans, they are working closely alongside these issues to raise the same concerns with Government.

Take a look at the joint letter all four unions sent to the Chancellor ahead of his Autumn Statement, seeking a commitment to provide an additional £1.7bn to fund a meaningful step towards pay restoration.

The earliest day of strike action will be towards the end of the summer term.

No, in the event of strike action being called we will not be paying strike pay, so you will receive a deduction of salary for any days we are on strike. The loss in salary is, however, far less than you have lost since 2010 due to the pay freeze and this year’s anticipated below inflation pay offer.

In the event of strike action being called, local districts will set up local industrial action hardship funds. Grants may be made from the Industrial Action Hardship Fund to any member of the district who has suffered or is considered likely to suffer hardship as a result of their participation in industrial action with no strike pay.

Most pregnant women can join a strike without affecting their maternity pay. Your entitlements are based on your length of continuous service and earnings in a specific period.

Although the week of the strike will not be included in your length of continuous service, this will not affect the vast majority of pregnant women since continuous service is not broken by taking strike action. The qualifying period for statutory maternity pay (SMP) is 26 weeks’ continuous service. The qualifying service for contractual maternity leave under the Burgundy Book and Green Book is 1 years’ service by the end of the 11th week before the beginning of your EWC. To qualify for Maternity Allowance (MA), you must have worked and paid full national insurance contributions for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week in which the baby is due. One day of strike action will reduce your continuous service for these purposes by one week. If taking one day of strike action will reduce your continuous service to less than any of these necessary qualifying periods, you should not take action.

Taking strike action is unlikely to impact on the assessment of your earnings for the purposes of calculating your maternity pay. However, If the strike days fall in the eight week period immediately before the 15th week before your expected week of childbirth, i.e. from the beginning of week 18 to the end of week 25 of your pregnancy, contact the NEU AdviceLine for further guidance.

Very little – any loss would probably be between £1 and £2.50 a year at most for each day of action taken. All serving teachers are now building up their pension in the career average scheme. Your pension is 1/57 of whatever is earned during each scheme year (from 1 April to 31 March), which is then indexed until retirement. So, you simply lose the pension you would build up for each day you take strike action.

For example, if your pensionable salary is £36,000, each day of strike action will reduce your pension by just £1.73 a year – and varies in proportion to earnings.

Although all members are now in the career average pension scheme, taking strike action can affect final salary pension. In the final salary scheme, your pension is based on the higher of your total pay received over the last 365 days of service, or the best three consecutive years in the last ten years re-valued in line with inflation.

When you go on strike, a strike day is simply disregarded, and these calculations are worked out by going back one day further. For teachers who are within ten years of retirement, going on strike only triggers a further loss if the strike day would have been used to calculate the pension. Even if this is the case, the additional loss will be negligible in the vast majority of cases. As a result, NEU guidance is that members close to retirement should take strike action.

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