Havering teachers may take action again over working conditions

Havering schools could be hit by industrial action once again after the two biggest teachers’ unions announced this week they are to take joint action.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT, who represent 90 per cent of teachers nationally, said they have decided to act because of pay, pensions, workload, conditions of service and job losses.

In a national ballot of its members, the NUT said that 82.5 per cent were in favour of walkouts, with a turnout of 27 per cent.

Members also voted for industrial action short of strikes, with 91.6 per cent in favour, the union said.

The exact shape of the industrial action – whether it is a full scale strike or a form of action where teachers will refuse to do overtime or cover for others – is expected to be decided this week, although the latter is believed to be more likely.

The unions have promised that any action will be “pupil, parent and public friendly, whilst resisting government policies which are undermining teachers’ ability to work effectively to deliver the highest standards of education”.

Keith Passingham, from the Havering NASUWT, said that one the issue was excessive testing of staff, he said: “It’s about trying to get back to the position where teachers are able to teach and plan their lessons and not get bogged down by things outside of that.”

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A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are very disappointed that a small minority of NUT members has voted this way. Industrial action would disrupt pupils’ education, hugely inconvenience parents and will damage the profession’s reputation in the eyes of the public.

“Parents and members of the public will struggle to understand why the NUT chose to ballot their members now about pay and working conditions when decisions about future pay arrangements have yet to be made.”