teachers join long list of striking trades

After railway workers, nurses, paramedics or public officials, teachers in England and Wales joined the cohort of sectors on strike on Monday January 16, announcing seven days of mobilization, between February and March, including the premiere will take place on 1er february. Their Scottish colleagues have also started a sixteen-day strike.

Teachers are demanding salary increases in line with inflation that exceeds 10%. The movement was announced the day Parliament began examining a bill aimed at establishing a minimum service in certain public sectors. “It was a really difficult decision for our members to make”points out the National Education Union, the main teachers’ union, on Twitter. This vote “sends a resounding message to the government: we will not stand by and watch the destruction of education without resisting”he adds.

“We have raised our concerns with successive education ministers about the salaries of teachers and support staff [des écoles] and funding for schools and universities, but instead of solving the problem they sat on it”are indignant its two leaders, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, in a joint statement.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on teachers not to walk out by recalling the “substantial harm” already suffered by students during the Covid-19 pandemic, during which schools had been closed for many weeks.

“Desperate attempt”

These initiatives are part of a broader social movement that has shaken the United Kingdom for several months. Many sectors are demanding wage increases due to inflation. On Monday, the nurses, who already have to take two days off work this week, announced that they would stop work again for two days in February (6 and 7), always to demand a salary increase.

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The union Royal College of Nursing (RCN), at the origin of this movement widely supported by the population, specified that more hospitals would be affected than during their first two days of strike, in December.

“It is with heavy hearts that the nurses will be on strike this week and again in three weeks. Rather than negotiate, Rishi Sunak has chosen to strike, once again”said Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN. “We are doing this in a desperate attempt to see [le premier ministre] and ministers save the NHS”the public health system, she added, calling on the government to fill the tens of thousands of vacancies in hospitals.

Faced with the strikers, the Conservative government is inflexible and highlights the delicate situation of public finances. At the beginning of January, he presented his bill aimed at establishing a minimum service in several sectors, such as health, education or transport. The unions see it as a challenge to the right to strike and the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, has called on the government “to compromise”.

The World with AFP


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