Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 09:14 UK

Q&A: NUT teachers' strike

Teachers are taking industrial action this week in what will be the first national teachers' strike for 21 years. The National Union of Teachers' (NUT) 24-hour strike on Thursday 24 April could see many schools in England and Wales closing.

What is the strike about?

Teachers want a bigger pay rise. Members of the NUT have voted for a national strike in response to the School Teachers' Review Body's recommended pay increase. This equates to a 2.45% rise for teachers this year with a further rise of 2.3% in 2009 and 2010. The NUT wants pay rises equivalent to the rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index.

I have been told one of my children is affected but not the other: can I keep him at home too?

No, this is likely to be treated by the school as unauthorised absence.

Are any other teachers' unions involved?

No. NASUWT, said a majority of its members had accepted the review body's recommendations. Teachers from other unions are expected to turn up for work on the strike day. However, further education lecturers who are members of the University and College Union are taking strike action on the same day in a protest over pay.

What was the result of the NUT ballot?

Voting was 48,217 (75%) in favour and 15,884 (25%) against on a 32% turnout.

What proportion of teachers voted to strike?

There are some 462,000 full-time equivalent regular teachers in England and Wales which means about a tenth voted in favour of the industrial action.

How many schools are there?

In England there are 17,361 state primary schools, 3,343 secondary, 1,078 special schools and 448 pupil referral units. In Wales, 1,527 primary, 224 secondary, 44 special schools and 81 referral units.

What about independent schools?

They are not involved. The national pay and conditions document is for the state sector.

Why is it England and Wales, is not education a devolved matter?

Largely it is, but teachers' pay and conditions in Wales as well as England are still determined in Whitehall.

Will many schools close?

This has become clearer nearer the day, with many local authorities publishing lists. Employers believe that the impact of the industrial action will vary depending on the concentration of NUT membership.

Could staff from other unions, who are working, cover for their colleagues?

No. Other unions have advised their members not to undertake cover for striking colleagues. And schools will not use agency staff to cover for striking teachers.

Can parents take any action against a school if they fail to provide an extra day's schooling to compensate for a lost teaching day?

No, but the Local Government Association says parents can sue the local authority for an extra day's teaching if they fail to provide it.

I am a teacher who is not in the NUT what should I do?

The NASUWT, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and Voice are encouraging their members to work if their schools are open as any industrial action taken by non-NUT teachers would be regarded as unlawful.

What if I am not an NUT member and my school has closed?

You should still notify your school that you are available to work.

Will there be any picket lines outside schools?

Striking staff were asked to attend rallies up and down the country on the day rather than stage picket lines but there have been demonstrations.

Will there be more strikes?

There could be. The NUT has a mandate for another ballot where teachers would vote on whether to mount a series of rolling strikes.


SEE ALSO
Lecturers to join one-day strike
14 Apr 08 |  Education
Strike 'may shut half of schools'
03 Apr 08 |  Education
Teachers vote to hold pay strike
02 Apr 08 |  Education
Teachers to ballot on pay strikes
22 Mar 08 |  Education

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