TEACHERS at schools across the city are to take part in a Yorkshire-wide strike being launched next month by two major teaching unions in an ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and workload.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT will take part in the day of industrial action being held across Yorkshire and the Midlands on Tuesday October 1.
Union officials say that the strike will affect the majority of the 4,500 schools in these areas. Leeds schools could be hit again if the two unions go ahead with a planned national day of strike action before Christmas.
The unions object to plans to abandon national pay and conditions for teachers and pension reforms which mean they will work longer, pay more and receive less.
The NUT and the NASUWT accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of being “reckless and irresponsible” as they announced plans to stage regional walkouts on two days next month. Mr Gove hit back, declaring there was “no excuse” for strikes, and accusing the union leaders of attacking teaching.
He said: “Pay reforms will allow good teachers to be paid more, the profession has been given more autonomy and changes are also being made to areas such as inspections and assessment.
“I fear the reason is that there are people within the executive and leadership of the teaching unions who are for ideological reasons on some sort of kick.”
However Leeds NUT branch official Richard Raftery said: “Gove is creating a chaotic pay system by tearing up national pay and conditions and allowing schools to hand out individual contracts.
“He says he wants to allow schools to pay the good teachers more but the reforms are about bringing down the overall cost of teaching and paying most teachers less.”
He also criticised the Government for not doing an evaluation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme which he said would show there was no need for the reforms which are being pushed through.