Schools in England and Wales face closures as teachers vote to strike

Thousands of schools in England and Wales face closures in February and March after the UK’s biggest teaching union secured support for strike action. The National

Education Union, which has around 300,000 members, said around nine in 10 of those who returned their ballot papers voted yes to strikes over pay.  However, the union only

narrowly secured the 50 per cent turnout that is legally required for industrial action. In England, turnout was 53.3 per cent, while in Wales it was 58 per cent. Mary

Bousted, the NEU joint general secretary, said the results “show the Government that the NEU members will not stand by and see the education service they work so hard for and they

care for so much be sacrificed because teachers and support staff are being driven from the profession they love because of a toxic mix of low pay and excessive

workload”. Kevin Courtney, her fellow joint general secretary, said: “The England teacher ballot result alone is the biggest ballot result of any union in recent times. The

Government needs to listen. These are big votes for strike action.” The union officials said the average five per cent pay rise for teachers this year had followed

real-terms cuts to pay since 2010 and was well behind inflation. “In the midst of a cost of living crisis, that is an unsustainable situation,” they said in a joint

statement.