Daily Poll June 15

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Do you back teacher plans to strike over pensions?

Thousands of schools are set to be hit by a series of walk-outs after teachers backed strike action in England and Wales over changes to their pensions.

Members of the National Union of Teachers and the Associations of Teachers and Lecturers are expected to walk out on June 30.

The unions say the pensions changes will leave them working longer, paying more and getting less when they retire.

The government insists any changes will be fair and affordable to the nation.

The dispute over pensions is likely to widen with other public sector unions holding ballots for industrial action this summer.

Cabinet Office Minister Frances Maude said: “It will be a big mistake for people to embark on strike action while there are discussions going on.”

With both teachers’ unions striking, it could mean that almost every school in England and Wales will be affected this term.

Lecturers are already walking out and head teachers are on the verge of balloting on industrial action over the same issue.

About 220,000 NUT members were balloted over the pensions changes. Around nine out of 10 (or 92 per cent) of those who voted, backed the strike action with a turn-out of 40%.

And just over half of the ATL’s 160,000 members took part in a separate ballot over changes to the Teacher Pension Scheme - the rest are not members of the scheme.

Some 83% of the ATL members who voted backed the strike action. The turn-out was 35 per cent.

A strike on June 30 would be the first time in the history of the usually moderate ATL that the teachers’ union takes national strike action.

The NUT last held a national strike in 2008.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “This is a warning shot across the bows to the government.

“When even the least militant education union and teachers working in private schools vote to strike the government would be wrong to ignore it.”