Support continues for second set of Manchester school strikes 

Teacher strikes returned to the streets of Manchester and to picket lines after a brief pause to allow for negotiations. 

There was an estimated turnout of 3000 National Education Union (NEU) members who attended the march and rally in Manchester yesterday.  

Teacher Strikes in Manchester – Image by Natasha Judge

NEU officer and secondary school teacher, Steven Longden, works with individual members at a range of schools and has actively taken part in the strike action. 

He said: “I have not received any weakness amongst members, people are strong.  

“The support from the public is clearly there on the streets and the support we are getting on picket lines and certainly at my school, we have local councillors come out to support us on the pickets.  

“Manchester is always very solid when it comes to strike action, I mean I’ve never known such support from senior teachers for strike action before and the public are solidly behind us.” 

With crowds of teachers, parents and children taking to the streets, anger was shown towards the Department for Education and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, after no new deal was met at a meeting with teaching unions.  

Joint general secretary of the NEU, Kevin Courtney, said: “It is completely disingenuous to suggest that we are not willing to enter talks with the government. 

“We are absolutely ready to come to talks.  

“What we cannot accept are preconditions which require us to pause strike action before we have made any progress through negotiations to resolve this dispute.” 

The main reasons for the strikes are long hours of teaching staff and poor pay within the already turbulent cost of living crisis. 

The NEU ballot of teachers and support staff throughout England and Wales received the largest vote for strike action received by a union in the UK. 

In England, 90.44% of members taking part within the ballot voted for industrial strike action to be carried out by a 53.27% turnout. 

Within Manchester, ballot turnout was one of the highest in the country with 67.5% of teachers voting for industrial action. 

There are still several schools who have opened for year 11 students, prioritising them ahead of the GCSE examinations this summer. 

Teacher Strikes in Manchester city centre – Image by Natasha Judge

The next strikes are set to take place on 15th and 16th March for all eligible NEU members. 

To stay up to date with strike action you can check the interactive strike map and check with your local school to keep informed of any upcoming school closures. 

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