TEACHERS in Cambridgeshire are set to strike on October 1.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT, the two largest teacher unions, announced today (Thursday) the next round of industrial action following the refusal of Michael Gove, Education Secretary, to engage in discussions over changes to teachers' pay.

It means that teachers in the Eastern region are to strike on October 1, along with colleagues in East Midland, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside.

A further strike involving teachers from the rest of the country is scheduled for October 17.

Plans are also in place for a one-day, all-out national strike before the end of the Autumn term.

Under the Government's reforms, due to come into effect from this autumn, teachers' pay will be linked to performance in the classroom - with schools setting salaries rather than following a national framework.

Changes have also been made to public sector pensions.

In March Mr Gove wrote to the unions, which represent nine out of 10 teachers, to say he was willing to meet but insisted that the "direction of travel" on both their key issues was "fixed".

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: "At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action. It is a great shame that the Education Secretary has let things get to this stage.

"With pay pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked and an Education Secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate teachers now however have no other choice.

"Michael Gove has demoralised an entire profession, it is time that he started to listen for the sake of teachers, pupils and education."

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, added: "The attacks on teachers are relentless.

"The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on their pay, conditions and professionalism.

"Teachers will be angered by the recklessness of the Secretary of State's continuing failure to take seriously their concerns and engage in genuine discussions to address them."

The Government has condemned the unions' rolling campaign of walkouts and said it is disruptive to pupils' education.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.

"In a recent poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70 per cent either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all."

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