The education secretary has accused education trade unions of “failing” children by threatening strikes.
Nadhim Zahawi branded threats to walk out of the classroom by the National Education Union “irresponsible” in a piece for the Telegraph this morning.
This comes after industrial action from rail workers brought the country to a standstill on Tuesday, with a second day of strike action today, and a third on Saturday.
Zahawi commented on threats by the NEU to strike over pay and conditions, “hot on the heels of their counterparts in rail, so disappointing.”
He said they are asking for a pay increase “above inflation’, and while teachers “ontinue to be everyday heroes, and it’s right they are recognised.. pegging wages to inflation – with a war in Europe and supply chains recovering post-Covid – is irresponsible.”
He said the “decision by unions to threaten strike action is wrong” and younger people have “suffered more disruption than any generation that’s gone before them.” Striking he added would be “unforgiveable and unfair.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s rail strike, an NEU spokesperson told City AM that “Schools and colleges will be doing all they can to support those students affected by the strike action.
“As the government itself recognises, it will be a small proportion of pupils will be affected by the train strikes. Where this is the case schools and colleges can implement existing contingency plans should staff or students arrive late. Students and their parents will also have been sent advice to ensure they leave in good time and work out alternative routes.
“Working people deserve a pay rise and job security at work. This includes rail workers as well as education staff. No one welcomes disruption, and workers never easily vote for strike action, but it is in the government’s gift to avert strike action.”