Teacher unions to start series of strikes

strikers The action is likely to be followed by a national strike in the autumn

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Thousands of pupils in England could have lessons disrupted, as two unions announce they are pushing ahead with strike action over pay and pensions.

The National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT said they had served notice to schools that their members in the North West would be on strike on 27 June.

This is the first of a series of regional walkouts affecting schools in England and Wales.

The government said the strikes would damage the profession's reputation.

In total, 2,765 schools across 22 authorities in the North West would be affected by the one-day walkout, the unions said.

The action is likely to be followed by a national strike in the autumn.

Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to both unions in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute, but also insisting that the "direction of travel" on both of their key issues was "fixed."

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "The move to strike action is a manifestation of the anger and frustration of teachers at the failure of the government to seek to address the deep concerns of the profession."

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "The government is going down entirely the wrong path for education and teachers. They need to start listening."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We are very disappointed that the NUT and NASUWT have decided to take strike action, which less than a quarter of teachers actually voted for.

"Industrial action will disrupt pupils' education, hugely inconvenience parents and damage the profession's reputation in the eyes of the public at a time when our reforms are driving up standards across the country."

In the NUT's ballot in September 2012, 82.5% voted in favour of strike action with a turnout of 27% while some 82% of NASUWT members voted for industrial action, with a turnout of 40%.

Strike action is due to take place on 27 June in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Halton, Knowsley, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington & District, Wigan and Wirral.

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