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Teachers Pay: Preparing for battle

Teachers picketing Vanguard School in Lambeth, south London, during their pay
dispute last year. Photo Workers.

After a year of unprecedented industrial action, the National Education Union discussed what to do next in its ongoing pay campaign at its Easter conference.

The ground was prepared with a successful preliminary indicative ballot for further strike action over pay and funding. Support was strong – 90 per cent in favour on a 50 per cent turnout.

The union chose not to move to an immediate formal ballot but to wait for the outcome of the pay review body, the School Teachers’ Review Body, which is due to publish recommendations in the summer.

The review body has become thoroughly discredited among all teachers. The outcome is anticipated to be the 1 to 2 per cent pay increase asked for by the government. The hope of the new general secretary, Daniel Kebede, that the ballot result would be sufficient to move the government to negotiation, was regarded by the majority as extremely unlikely. It now seems inevitable that a formal ballot for action will be held in the autumn.