(Updated at 3:22 p.m.)
Teachers in England and Wales announced they would go on strike on Monday, joining nurses, railway workers and others in another headache for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government.
Sunak is under increasing pressure to try to resolve pay issues with hundreds of thousands of workers after months of strikes.
With inflation above 10%, workers across industries are demanding higher wages.
The UK’s biggest education union, the NEU, which has around 500,000 members, said the government had given its members a 5% pay rise, a pay cut due to rising prices. Low teacher salaries have driven many out of the profession, the union said.
The government has said it cannot afford large wage hikes and has warned that any big increase in wages would exacerbate the inflationary problem.
Last week, a strike referendum by another teachers’ union in England fell short of the required turnout threshold. A directors’ union in England and Wales will also announce on Monday whether to go ahead with strike action.
Teachers in England were last attacked in 2016, but most schools remained open. In 2008 there was a massive walkout by teachers.
Teachers in Scotland have already gone on strike and closed many schools. On Monday, they began their 16th consecutive day of strike.
Transport Minister Mark Harper said on Sunday that the end of the teachers’ strike was “regrettable”.
While there are expectations that the new offer to railway workers will end the strike in the sector, the nurses’ representatives have warned that their strikes could intensify.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing are due to strike on Wednesday and Thursday, and the union has warned that its next round of strike action will be more severe.
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