By Avantika Bhargava
A THOUSAND teachers could walk out of the town’s schools if a proposed strike gets the go ahead.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) will ballot members to strike against the continued cutting of teachers’ living standards.
And teachers in Swindon are getting the worst deal, according to union leaders.
NUT members in all of Swindon’s primary and secondary schools will be balloted at the end of the month about a one-day strike on April 24.
The last time teachers in the town went ahead with major strike action was 22 years ago.
Andy Woolley, the NUT’s south west regional secretary, said: “This is the third year running that the pay rise for teachers has been below inflation and this amount is likely to be the same for the next two years.
“Swindon is the worst hit in the south west region because of the high cost of living and so young teachers are constantly finding it difficult to get onto the property ladder.”
Peter Smith, the NUT’s Swindon representative, feels teachers earn less than the average graduate after leaving university.
He said: “They spend four years at university with no pay, and also have a building student debt and when they start they earn just over £20,000 – that’s about £3,000 less than your average graduate. This gap widens over the next two years and within five years of joining the profession.
“Fifty per cent of young teachers leave because of heavy workload and pay conditions.
“The Government had promised us that if inflation continued to rise they would review our pay, but they have gone back on their word.”
According to figures from the NUT, junior doctors who earn a basic salary with a supplement would earn £32,087 with the amount increasing to over £39,000.
Police officers also earn a higher wage than teachers and are paid during training and don’t need to be graduates.