Unions May Lose Support From Teachers With St David's Day Strike Over Pensions
Higher education unions may lose valuable support from fellow schoolteachers' unions if they go ahead and strike on St David's Day, it has emerged.
While the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) is currently in discussions to determine a date for a strike over pensions, a Welsh newspaper claims the National Association of Schoolmaster and Union Of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the Public and Commercial Services had both "pinpointed" 1 March as a "likely date" for action.
Despite showing a united front last November, unions who count teachers among their members, such as UCAC and National Union of Teachers (NUT), may not be able to support UCU if their executives vote against striking on the Welsh national day.
St David's Day is celebrated in all schools across Wales, with teachers playing a huge involvement in the day's "eisteddfodau" festivities but lecturers in higher education institutions do not usually have such an integral role in the celebrations.
A source in Wales told the Huffington Post UK teachers would be very reluctant to strike on St David's Day.
"It would be a very bad day for a strike in Wales. School teaching unions in particular in Wales would be reluctant to strike on 1 March. It doesn't affect lecturers' unions in the same way it does teaching ones as obviously their members are at universities."
So far, the date is only provisional and the executives will decide whether to go ahead or not.
A spokesperson for UCAC declined to comment on the reports but confirmed the national executive met last week and the union is still in consultation with its members over the government's proposed pension reforms. Changes include raising the retirement age to 67.
"We have decided to continue with our position on holding for the heads of agreement document, which is the same position as we were in before Christmas.
"We are carrying on with negotiations. We will consult members on their opinion before making a final decision."
UCAC's next meeting with their members is 24 February.
UCU also could not comment on the alleged strike but it is believed it would be something the union's members would take into account when deciding whether or not to strike on 1 March.