NEU strike. Photo: Paul Mattsson
NEU national Education Union teachers national pay strike and TUC day of protest Protect the Right to Strike demonstration march and rally central London

Following the massive 98% rejection of the Tories’ latest derisory pay offer, teachers in the National Education Union (NEU) in England are taking two more days of national strike action on Thursday 27 April and Tuesday 2 May.

Union members are discussing what to do about students preparing for exams. Socialist Party members argue that if members discuss in their union groups and decide to offer some support to students, then that is their choice. But it should not be up to the schools to call the shots. We publish here an extract from guidance to members issued by Bristol NEU.

Striking has already forced the government to meet with us and give an improved offer. However, it’s not enough. Continuing the fight will bring other unions on board and keep pressure on the government.

Every member out on a strike day increases the likelihood of you and your colleagues all winning on funding and pay. Every member in work on a strike day undermines this, gives free PR to the government, and makes it less likely we win.

What about the disruption?

An NEU strike causes no more or less disruption than a bank holiday or a coronation!

If the government was serious about the education of children, they would have resolved this dispute by agreeing to properly fund education and pay us what we deserve. Working in education can (and should) be a good, decently paid job! Through action we can win a future where education is properly funded.

On the picket line

One principle of the picket line is to be visible to the public; so, the NEU will have leaflets for parents, grandparents and carers.

The other aim of a picket line is to ask others not to cross it and not go into work.  On these strike days, teachers will ask other teachers, support staff, delivery drivers and anyone else going into school, not to go in that day, to show their support for pay, funding, and their colleagues.

If they ask you not to cross, this means you can choose not to go to work that day.  This is your legal right. The law says, “Non-union members who take part in legal, official industrial action have the same rights as union members not to be dismissed as a result of taking action.”

You will be treated the same as those on strike, so you will lose a day’s pay. Laws about industrial action are designed to confuse us to try and stop us from taking action, so your school might not fully understand either.  The NEU will support any member if schools are difficult about this or do not understand the law.