UK school leaders unite to ballot for national strike action amid cuts
Six in ten UK teachers have admitted considering changing professions due to high levels of stress that are a result of low pay and poor working conditions.
The Guardian reported on Saturday that headteachers, teachers, and supporting staff were uniting to ballot on strike action to demand better pay and working conditions. The ballotting deadline is scheduled on 11 January, although some say that school closures would remain a "last resort."
About six teachers out of ten have admitted considering changing professions over the past year due to increased levels of stress.
Some have reported suffering of migraines and others have even passed out, the report says.
Teachers in Scotland already took strike actions in November and are planning for more days in the coming weeks.
"The anger and even despair we are hearing from our members right now is unprecedented. School leaders are telling me they cannot continue to run their schools in the current circumstances," said Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) union.
Read more: French doctors strike to demand fee hike, better conditions
A survey conducted yearly by the charity Education Support on the well-being of school staff in several regions across the UK found that stress had reached unbalanced proportions among headteachers.
87% of reportedly said their work had severely affected their mental health, while 58% said they actively sought a change of professions over the past year.
Some blame excessive budget cuts the government has been enforcing over the past ten years which have weakened important social services. Others complained their pay was too low to cover some essential living costs, in particular gas bills.
A school teacher wrote "The last two and a half years have been the toughest I have ever known," she said, noting that "the experience has almost broken me, and the situation shows no signs of improving."
"I no longer want to work for a government that is so out of touch with reality and treats my profession and our children with such contempt.”
"A lot of our parents are struggling, and they are asking why we aren’t helping them more with food like we did in the pandemic, but we just can’t," another teacher said, as reported by The Guardian. "The food parcels we give out are costing us more. I don’t know if we can afford to keep offering free breakfasts to kids who come in hungry."
Read more: Sunak, MPs reject pay rise proposal amid nation-wide NHS walkouts
Since the start of this year, several nurses, dock and rail workers, postal workers, school teachers, and others have launched union strikes to demand better pay and working conditions.
Earlier in December, it was reported that National Health Service nurses in Britain went on a strike, their first-ever national walkout, as a dispute with the government over pay ramps up pressure on already-stretched hospitals at one of the busiest times of the year.
Just as any other country in Europe, the UK has been suffering from a massive energy crisis combined with rising cost of living due to the unilateral sanctions against Russia