National Union of Teachers, Unison and Public and Commercial Services Union prepare for combined strike action over pay in September

Momentum is growing for joint trade union strikes in September after education secretary Alan Johnson ruled out higher pay rises for teachers this year.

Johnson wrote to the School Teachers Review Body to refuse its request to reopen pay negotiations despite inflation above the level that should trigger a review.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has been talking to Unison and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)  about combined action over public service pay. It is understood that other unions are also considering joining the action.

Teachers are due to receive a 2.5% pay rise in September, but a clause stated that this would be reviewed if inflation averaged above 3.25% in the year to March 2007. Inflation averaged 3.75% in that period, and now stands at almost 5%, but Johnson has insisted this should only be reflected in pay rises from 2008.

NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott said: “The government’s decision to refuse to re-open the September award is a breach of honour.

“Teachers have been let down. They trusted the government to live up to its word instead once again they have been targeted for unfair treatment.”

Sinnott said he would be writing to the Trades Union Congress  to convene a meeting of its committee of teachers unions to consider what steps the alliance should take to achieve a fairer deal.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka last month said the end of the summer could see widespread industrial action by NHS workers and civil servants. Incoming prime minister Gordon Brown’s speech at the Labour Party conference in September is a possible target.

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