INDUSTRIAL action is expected to lead to closures at 21 South Tyneside schools tomorrow.
The strike, called by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), is likely to affect thousands of state schools in England and Wales.
It is a continuation of over two years of protests over pay and pensions prompted by Department for Education efforts to rewrite teachers’ working conditions.
But in contrast to last year’s wave of regional strikes held jointly with the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers), this time the NUT is going it alone.
The impact on South Tyneside’s schools is expected to be patchy, with partial or full closures likely at 21 schools, but almost twice that number remaining open.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Strike action is always a last resort for teachers, and we deeply regret the fact that we have been put in this position. Teacher morale is at an all-time low. Teachers regularly work in excess of 60 hours a week, which is unacceptably high and unsustainable.
“The introduction of performance-related pay is a way of paying teachers less, not more.”
The NASUWT has said it will continue negotiations following Education Secretary Michael Gove’s acceptance of recommendations by the school teachers’ review body claimed by union officials to safeguard contractual entitlements for teachers.
And while the NUT and NASUWT both claim to be the largest teachers’ union, the NUT has more members in primary schools, meaning that they are likely to be hardest hit by the planned strike.
For more information, go to www.southtyneside.info