Lytham St. Anne’s schools are set to be hit by the forthcoming national strike that will see thousands of teachers walking out of classrooms over pay after the largest education union reached the threshold required to take strike action. This will be the biggest local shutdown in almost a decade.
The National Education Union (NEU) organised a ballot of 300,000 members in England and Wales, calls for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise. Nine out of 10 teacher members of the union voted for strike action and the union passed the 50% ballot turnout required by law to take industrial action.
The NEU has declared seven days of walkouts in February and March, but it has said any individual school will only be affected by four of the days.
The full list of proposed strike days is as follows:
- Wednesday 1 February: all eligible members in England and Wales
- Tuesday 14 February: all eligible members in England and Wales
- Tuesday 28 February: all eligible members in the Northern, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber regions
- Wednesday 1 March: all eligible members in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and Eastern regions
- Thursday 2 March: all eligible members in London, South East and South West regions
- Wednesday 15 March: all eligible members in England and Wales
- Thursday 16 March: all eligible members in England and Wales
Teacher members in sixth form colleges in England, who have already been balloted and taken strike action in recent months, will also strike on strike days in a separate but linked dispute with the Secretary of State.
The Union gives these underpinning arguments as they battle for a fair pay deal:
- Real pay down by more than 20% since 2010
- Devastating austerity cuts to school budgets
- Stress, exhaustion and unbearable workloads amid a retention crisis
Some local parents are not looking forward to the strike, and have expressed their discontent. One Lytham mum said, ‘Personally I am on the side of our children who have already seen so much disruption in their education thanks to the pandemic. Teachers should not put themselves in the same category as nurses and I don’t this action will gain much sympathy with the general public.’
A St. Anne’s mother of four said, ‘What am I supposed to do with my four children? They go to breakfast club from 8.00 a.m. and then after-school club until 5.30 p.m. I cannot take them to work as they are very disruptive and because of their behaviour no-one wants to look after them during the day. They were an absolute pain during the pandemic – teachers should do their job after what they (public servants) have inflicted on parents (the public) during the pandemic.’