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200,000 teachers launch three days of strike action over pay

National Education Union

Nearly 200,000 teachers in England and Wales will take part in a three-day strike as a row over pay continues.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) in the north of England will strike today (Tuesday, February 28), with most schools expected to restrict student access or close entirely.

Union members in the Midlands and east of England will strike on Wednesday, March 1, with more walkouts in Wales and the south of England on Thursday.

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Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "I think a majority of schools will be affected by the dispute - some of them with full closures and many more with partial closures.

"Some secondary schools will be completely closed; others will have particular year groups in and a similar pattern in lots of lots of primary schools."

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Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: "As a government, we have made a serious offer to the leaders of the National Education Union and Royal College of Nursing: pause this week's strikes, get round the table and talk about pay, conditions and reforms.

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"It is hugely disappointing the NEU has thus far refused this serious offer and has not joined the Royal College of Nursing in calling off strikes.

"Instead of sitting around a table discussing pay, the NEU will once again cause disruption for children and families.

"Children deserve to be in school, and further strike action is simply unforgivable, especially after everything children have been through because of the pandemic."

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Mr. Courtney said: "I think the government is fundamentally mistaken in thinking that industrial relations are solved by telling people you can't go on strike if you want to talk to us.

"We are willing to meet at any time, any place and we would really hope that she does meet with us after these regional strikes and comes up with something serious that is an offer that we can put to members.

"That's what we would want in an ideal world, to find a solution that means we don't go ahead with those strikes in March."

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More national walkouts are planned for March 15 and 16 in England and Wales.

Data from the Department for Education showed 44.7 percent of state schools in England were open but restricting attendance, while 9.3 percent were closed on the first day of the strikes on February 1.

Just 17.4 percent of secondary schools reported being fully operational, compared to 52.1 percent of primary schools.

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Teachers and school leaders in Northern Ireland went on strike for 12 hours last week as part of a pay dispute, and on Tuesday, teachers in the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and NASUWT unions will begin a wave of national strikes.

Source:  Sky News

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