Teachers vote in force to join public service strike

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Millions of workers are gearing up to strike over pensions at the end of the month after teachers backed industrial action and thousands of employers were given formal notice of the walkout.

The NASUWT teaching union said 82 per cent of its members had voted in favour of strike action, which now means they are set to join the TUC’s day of action on November 30.

It was the last major union to announce the results of its ballot in the continuing bitter row over pensions.

More than 220,000 teachers and school leaders took part in what was the NASUWT’s first national ballot for more than a decade.

General secretary Chris Keates said: “NASUWT members have voted overwhelmingly to reclaim the classroom and their profession in the face of relentless attacks on their working conditions, pensions and jobs.”

She added: “Teachers have been faced with a rising tide of excessive workload and a series of attacks on their profession, including unjust pension reforms, worsening pay and conditions of service, and increasing job insecurity.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “Strikes benefit no-one. They damage pupils’ education, disrupt parents’ lives, and undermine teachers’ professional reputation.

“The Teachers’ Pension Scheme will remain one of the best available and fair to taxpayers and teachers. The current offer means teachers will continue to receive a pension that is better than anything offered to most private sector staff.”

The ballot result came as Unison announced it has sent letters to 9,491 employers setting out plans for their members to strike on November 30. Its members, which include care workers, bin men, nurses and teaching assistants, backed a walkout in a ballot earlier this month.

Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “After a resounding ‘yes’ vote in our ballot, the letters are the next step towards the largest strike in living memory. We will continue to negotiate anywhere, any time, up to and beyond the day of action. But we still don’t have firm offers in the local government, or the health pension schemes, that we can put to our members.”

He added: “There is still time to reach a deal - it is down to Government Ministers and the employers to put firm offers on the table.”

A series of unions representing teachers, civil servants, NHS and council workers have already declared their ballot results, setting themselves on a collision course with the Government.

They argue that the Government’s reforms will leave them paying in more, working longer and receiving less when they retire.

Ministers insist that changes need to be made to public sector pensions to ensure they are sustainable for the future.

In total, more than two million workers are set to walk out on November 30 for a day of action co-ordinated by the TUC, which will disrupt schools, courts, government offices, job centres, driving tests, council services and hospitals.