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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 15:05 GMT
London teachers to strike
Teachers on a protest in March
A strike in March caused widespread disruption
Teaching unions have voted to strike next month in a dispute over London allowances.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) will take part in a one-day walk out on 26 November.

They want the cost of living allowances to be increased by at least a third as they say it is impossible to live on their current salary.

In March a one-day strike by up to 3,000 NUT members caused widespread disruption to lessons as up to half of the city's 2,000 schools were closed.

London allowances
Inner: 3,105
Outer: 2,043
Fringe: 792
The unions want the London allowance to be increased to 6,000 per annum, in line with what Metropolitan police officers receive.

Currently teachers get between 800 and 3,000.

The result of the NUT's ballot showed 81% in favour and 19% against the strike. The turnout was 40%.

NUT general secretary Doug McAvoy said: "To (new Education Secretary) Charles Clarke, my message is don't be tough on teachers, be tough for teachers.

"The solution is in your grasp - increase the allowances significantly."

Basic pay
Just qualified: 17,628
After seven years: 25,746
Upper scale: 27,894

Only a third of NASUWT members voted in the ballot - with 57% in favour of the walkout and 43% against.

The strike vote comes as talks continue to try to avert threatened strikes by firefighters who want a pay rise of 40%.

NASUWT general secretary, Eamonn O'Kane, said: "The vote is a clear demonstration of teachers' anger over London and fringe allowances.

"The government must act quickly to bring the allowances at least into line with those awarded to the police, otherwise the flight of teachers from the capital will continue."

Damaging education

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said: "A new teacher's starting salary in London is 20,733.

"There has been a 3.5% increase in allowance, meaning pay for good experienced teacher in inner London who has passed the threshold has gone up by 31% since 1997.

"We will continue to deliver on pay because we value the work teachers do.

"Industrial action does nothing but damage the education of children."

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is also balloting its London members who are expected to join the walkout.


Click here to go to BBC London Online

The London strike

The wider picture

TALKING POINT
See also:

29 Oct 02 | Education
04 Oct 02 | Education
22 May 02 | Education
05 Mar 02 | Education
30 Jan 02 | Education
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