Teachers across Cambridgeshire to walk out for second day of strike action over pay
Schools across Cambridgeshire face ‘significant disruption’ on Wednesday (March 1) as teachers walk out for the second of four days of action after no progress was made in negotiations over pay.
Picket lines will be in place at schools across the county, with thousands of National Education Union (NEU) members expected to join a rally and march in Cambridge which starts at Parker’s Piece at 11.30am.
Jonathan Lewis, director of education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “Schools are again anticipating significant disruption. Even schools which are fully open will see some disruption to the curriculum.
“We will be collating information on which schools are closed or partially closed and updating our website regularly.
“Headteachers are writing to parents to allow them to make decisions. In the case of full closure, schools are being encouraged to support vulnerable children and critical worker children, although capacity is likely to be limited.”
The action is the second of four strike days announced by the NEU in a dispute over teachers’ pay and the underfunding of education generally. The first strike took place on February 1 and further strikes are due to take place on March 15 and 16.
Some 145 schools in the county (54 per cent) remained open during the last strike on February 1, with 85 schools (32 per cent) partially open and 10 schools (four per cent) closed. Others were open for vulnerable or critical worker children only.
Paul McLaughlin, regional secretary of the NEU for the eastern region, added: “Our members, having delivered a strong mandate for action, have been left with no serious option and have had to take strike action already, and our membership has grown by 49,000 since the ballot result was first announced.
“The strength of feeling is all too clear. Enough is enough. We call on the secretary of state to end this madness and negotiate in good faith.
“The government’s education policy is driving the current recruitment and retention crisis which is damaging the education and prospects for our young people. A fully funded, above inflation pay rise would make a significant difference.
“It would ensure children are taught by those who specialise in the subjects they are delivering, and stop the brain drain which leads to pupils sadly seeing a revolving door of teachers over the course of a year.
“We regret having to take strike action and the disruption it causes, but it is self-evident that government inflicted disruption to education is now part of a pupil’s daily life.
“This situation cannot go on and members will take action to ensure that a brighter future for education is achieved.”
Education secretary Gillian Keegan has written to unions inviting them to “formal talks on pay, conditions and reform” on the condition that tomorrow’s strike action is cancelled.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This offer, which still stands, builds on six weeks of discussions and was made on the clear and reasonable condition that the NEU pauses its damaging strike action, mirroring the approach agreed by the government with the Royal College of Nursing.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the NEU’s leadership is not yet prepared to join these talks - and particularly as strikes have a significant impact on children’s education, especially following the disruption of the past two years.”