Sixth form teachers strike deemed lawful by High Court

The planned sixth form teachers’ strike has commenced despite a legal challenge from the government claiming it to be unlawful.

The government launched the legal challenge to avert the strike over funding cuts, claiming that it was an unlawful dispute based on political grounds instead of a trade dispute about terms and conditions.

However, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who has organised the strike, defeated the government’s challenge after the High Court refused to grant Education Secretary Nicky Morgan an injunction to stop the industrial action.

In February’s ballot, 86 per cent of NUT members in England’s sixth form colleges voted in favour of the strikes on a 44 per cent turn out.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, said: “The High Court’s decision is a victory for democracy and common sense. It is abundantly clear that government cuts to sixth form college funding are having a direct impact on our members’ terms and conditions and as such we are entitled to take strike action.

“Sixth form colleges provide a vital service to over 150,000 young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet government funding cuts mean many of those services will soon be financially unviable. The cuts will result in a further loss of courses, job losses and increased class sizes.

“It is regrettable that the government has not attempted to resolve the dispute. No one wants to take strike action but this is a serious issue that is getting increasingly worse. The NUT has been left with no option but to raise awareness of the problem through industrial action. Nicky Morgan’s challenge to the legitimacy of our strike action has just made that job easier.”

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