Today (Tues 6th June), the general secretaries of teacher and school leader unions, including NAHT, ASCL and NEU, have written to their members in all schools in England encouraging them to hold joint-union staff meetings on industrial action.
The unions have previously announced their intention to co-ordinate industrial action going forward. Speaking at school leaders’ union NAHT’s Annual Conference last month, the general secretaries pointed out that their combined memberships would mean action if taken would affect nearly every school in England.
All the unions are currently balloting their members to take strike action in the Autumn term, with NEU and NAHT’s ballots currently running, and ASCL’s due to commence this month.
The letter sent today calls for staff meetings of all union members eligible to vote in any of the ballots to be held the week commencing 19 June, to discuss how to maximise turnout and encourage members to return their ballot papers.
The letter reads:
“The education system has faced years of real-term pay erosion; a funding crisis; enormous recruitment and retention challenges; escalating workload and working hours; and an inspection system that is doing more harm than good.
“As a result, the four largest teacher and leader unions are in the process of balloting members in order to secure a mandate for industrial action.
“We have worked incredibly hard to engage with the government on these issues and to try to find satisfactory solutions, but it simply refuses to listen. We believe that a mandate for industrial action across all of our unions is the only way we can get your voice heard.
“In an almost unprecedented show of solidarity, all four of our unions have agreed to work together on this campaign. This shows not just the sense of unity among the profession but also our determination to make sure this government starts to engage properly with us in order to address these crucial issues.
“Regardless of which union you are in, it is absolutely essential we all work together to ensure everyone eligible casts their vote. This really is a time to stand together and stand up for the profession.
“Whether you are in the same union or in different unions, these staff meetings will provide a perfect opportunity to come together and show your solidarity for one another in this ongoing campaign.
“We are all clear that we are now in a battle for the very future of education – stand with your colleagues and join us as we strive to bring about real change.”