UK strikes: Teachers, senior doctors prepare to walk out in fresh wave of strikes over pay
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A fresh round of strikes from teachers and senior doctors are on the horizon as they prepare to vote in favour of industrial action. This time, members of Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and members of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and National Education Union (NEU) are all prepared to ballot in their dispute with the government over pay.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen called on Health Secretary Steve Barclay to restart pay negotiations with a proposed rise in double digits. Members of RCN, one of the two unions to turn down the recent government pay offer to NHS staff, will gather in Brighton as part of their long-running dispute.
After the existing six-month mandate expired at the beginning of the month, union members will now begin a new ballot for strike action on May 23. However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said the government’s pay offer was "fair" and that there were "no plans to reopen negotiations on this deal”.
Meanwhile, the NAHT and NEU have rejected the government’s pay offer, and ballots for members to vote on industrial action will be opening on Monday (May 15). The NEU said it will re-ballot teacher members working in England’s state-funded schools, with the present strike mandate expiring on July 13.
The NAHT ballot will close on July 31, with education unions agreeing to coordinate strike action in the autumn term. Teaching union NEU said it was “never too late for the Education Secretary to come to the negotiating table and make an improved offer.”
Senior doctors in England also will start voting on Monday on whether to strike in the long-term dispute over pay. Dr Vishal Sharma, who chairs the British Medical Association (BMA) consultants committee, said talks had been held with the government, but both parties have yet to reach an agreement.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We highly value the work of NHS consultants and they received a 4.5% pay uplift last financial year increasing average earnings to around £128,000.”