Sussex teachers to walk out of classrooms in October in row over pay, pensions and workloads (From The Argus)
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Sussex teachers to walk out of classrooms in October in row over pay, pensions and workloads
Hundreds of schools are bracing themselves for closure next month when thousands of teachers across the county are expected to go on strike.
The two biggest teachers' unions are threatening regional one-day strike action on October 17 in a row over pay, pensions and workloads.
Under Government reforms, set to come into effect this autumn, pay will be linked to per- formance in the classroom and headteachers will have greater flexibility over staff salaries.
The NUT and the NASUWT, which represent 85% of teachers nationally, serve more than 2,000 teachers in Brighton and Hove alone – meaning up to 90 schools in the city could be significantly disrupted.
Additionally, thousands of children across 190 schools in East Sussex and 309 in West Sussex could be told to stay at home for the day.
The news comes as firefighters voted in favour of industrial action over pensions, although a date for their strike action has yet to be decided.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said yesterday he “unhesitatingly condemned the action” and claimed proposed reforms to teaching meant the profession had “never been more attractive, popular or more rewarding”.
But Ron Gordon, President of Brighton and Hove National Union of Teachers, said the strike action had been “a long time coming".
He said: “There are lots of things that Gove seems to be fighting a battle against, not least pensions and pay freezes.
“But most of all, I think, it’s the extension of performance related pay.
“It introduces a culture where Teachers’ unions announce one-day strike teachers will be reluctant to share good teaching practice with one another.
“Say for example one teacher has a good idea or way of learning that helps a child achieve better exam results, but doesn’t want to share this idea with colleagues because it will affect their pay, it produces dangerous outcomes.
“I want to see teachers collaborating together but performance related pay will stop this.”
He added if the strikes planned for next month were similar to those that have already taken place in the city, he imagined they would have a ‘significant impact’ on schools.
He said: “Previously, most schools in Brighton and Hove were shut down because most of the teachers in the city are with the NUT or NASUWT.”
The regional strikes could precede a national strike that may fall before Christmas, should negotiations between the Government and the Unions prove futile.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.
In a recent poll, 61% of respondents supported linking teachers pay to performance and 70% either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.”
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