03/10/2011 15:20 BST | Updated 03/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Teachers' Union NASUWT Announces Ballot Dates For Pensions Strike

A leading teachers' union has announced its timetable for a strike ballot amid growing signs of industrial unrest over the Government's controversial public sector pension reforms.

The NASUWT said it will give employers notice of the ballot by October 20, with voting starting on November 4 and closing on November 17.

The result will give the union time to call a strike on the TUC's day of action on November 30, which could involve millions of workers ranging from teachers and civil servants to refuse collectors and school dinner ladies.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "Despite all our best efforts to engage constructively with this coalition, in 16 months in office they have conducted a campaign of denigration of the teaching profession, encouraged schools to ignore contractual entitlements, attacked pension provision, undermined professional status and put in place plans to put the whole of the teaching workforce on a permanent competency procedure.

"Savage cuts to local authority and school budgets have caused job insecurity for all teachers and job loss of many specialist teachers and support staff.

"The result is that now half of teachers are seriously considering quitting the profession and 84% of teachers feel professionally disempowered and unable to do the best for the children and young people they teach.

"A successful outcome in the ballot will enable teachers to reclaim their contractual entitlements and free them from burdensome tasks that are distracting them from focusing on teaching and learning."

Thousands of members of the Welsh teachers' union UCAC will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday, forcing schools to close and disrupting lessons after members voted by 9-1 in favour of action. UCAC has not staged a strike since the mid-1980s when there was a dispute over pay.

Chancellor George Osborne on Monday accused unions of being "irresponsible" in striking over pensions.

The NASUWT published a survey of more than 13,000 teachers which it said showed that excessive workloads were preventing them from focusing on teaching and learning, leaving them "paralysed" by red tape. The union said its dispute will be over workloads, pay and jobs as well as pensions.