Striking teachers could still be PAID despite hundreds of schools forced to shut as Walkout Wednesday grinds Britain to a halt

More than a hundred thousand teachers are taking strike action
More than a hundred thousand teachers are taking strike action
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 01/02/2023

- 10:13

Half a million people are walking out across Britain today

Teachers striking across Britain today could still be paid despite forcing classroom to shift their doors for thousands of pupils.

More than 100,000 members of the National Education Union are thought to be taking industrial action today as strikes from multiple sectors cripple the country.

In what has been dubbed "Walkout Wednesday", up to half a million workers are striking in increasingly bitter disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.

Members of seven trade unions are taking part in the biggest strike in a decade, affecting schools, universities, trains and buses.

Striking teachers walk towards the Department for Education, in Westminster. Around 100,000 civil servants from 124 government departments, the Border Force, museums and other government agencies are on strike in a dispute over jobs, pay and conditions. Picture date: Wednesday February 1, 2023.
Ministers fear teachers will still be paid even though they are on strike
Aaron Chown

While those taking industrial action are not entitled to pay on the says they walk out, there were concerns in the Department of Education last night that teachers on strike would continue to receive their wages.

Union law means workers do not need to give their employers advance notice of whether they intend to take part in industrial action.

With uncertainty about how many staff would turn up today, many schools were forced to pre-emptively announce they would be closing for the day in order to give parents more time to find childcare arrangements.

It means teachers can claim that they intended to turn up to work and still get paid as schools will have no way of knowing which members of staff were intending to take part in the strikes.

In a letter to schools Education Secretary Gillian Keegan warned that those taking industrial action must not be paid.

She said: "In all cases, where employees take strike action they are not entitled to be paid for any period during which they are on strike."

Around 85 per cent of schools will be either fully or partially closed by strike action today.

At the same time 15 train operators have announced zero trains will be running today as staff who are part of the Aslef and RMT unions walk out in their own dispute.

Civil servants are also on strike to demand better pay.

NHS managers fear the NHS will also suffer from the strike action
NHS managers fear the NHS will also suffer from the strike action
Jeff Moore

Senior management in the NHS also fear the consequences of strike action could have an adverse impact on their own services, with staff forced to take time off to take care of their children not in school.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman yesterday admitted the chaos caused by the multiple strikes would "disrupt people's lives".

He said: "We know that there will be significant disruption, given the scale of the strike action that is taking place tomorrow, and that will be very difficult for the public trying to go about their daily lives.

"We are upfront that this will disrupt people's lives and that's why we think negotiations rather than picket lines are the right approach."

Further strikes are timetabled to take place in the weeks ahead.

Ministers have warned giving in to union pay demands will damage the Government's efforts to halve inflation by the end of the year.

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