Despite the lack of public support, striking has become the protest of choice when it comes to cuts to the public sector, including public sector pensions.
Schools could be facing yet more disruption in September 2012 as The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Teachers Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), the two largest teaching unions, have entered into discussions to co-ordinate strikes over pay, pensions, workloads, conditions of service and job cuts.
The discussions between the two unions, who are historically rivals and have publicly sparred with each other over various issues, have raised speculation of a possible merger. Although, Christine Blower leader of NUT dismissed the rumours by saying the two unions had agreed to “stand together” on the issues.
One of the key factors the unions are uniting over is their opposition to proposals by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to:
- dispense with national pay bargaining for teachers which would reduce the unions power
- deregulate of teacher’s pay to be replaced with a system whereby teachers pay is determined at a local level
It will be interesting to see how many teachers will actually go on strike given the headline issues appear to be more to do with the unions’ power rather than the teachers themselves. Or do the teachers feel they are one and the same thing?