NUT votes to hold one-day strike ballot

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has voted to hold a ballot over a planned series of strikes regarding class sizes and pay.

Delegates at the union’s Manchester conference have voted for a ballot which would allow the executive to call a strike in England and Wales if a 10 per cent pay rise is not offered by the government.

A pay rise of 2.45 per cent for teachers, with further rises of 2.3 per cent in 2009 and 2010, was announced by ministers but has been slammed by the NUT as a pay-cut as it is below the rate of inflation.

Steve Sinnott, the NUT’s general secretary, said many teachers were “one wage packet away” from financial disaster.

“Before we reach the bottom of the trough we are doing something about it,” he added.

He called on the government to recognise the “sapping of teachers’ morale and the recruitment and retention crisis” that would come from offering the 2.45 per cent pay rise.

And after schools minister Jim Knight called for classes of up to 38 pupils this week, union members will also vote on a possible campaign to limit class sizes to 20 pupils by 2020.

Mr Sinnott said earlier this week he believed such a move would be “a very popular campaign with parents indeed”.

“There is a need for us to explain what we are doing to parents and for parents to make clear their support for reduced class sizes to government,” he added.

“We want to have a strategy that looks at involving people with our objectives, negotiating with Government and where it’s appropriate using industrial action too.”