LABOUR'S shadow education secretary refused to clearly say whether or not she supported teachers taking industrial action in England and Wales during a broadcast interview. 

Thousands of schools are set to face disruption south of the Border as teachers take industrial action in a dispute over pay. 

More than 100,000 teachers could strike, with 23,000 schools affected, the National Education Union (NEU) has said. 

Asked about the strikes, Labour's Bridget Phillipson told the Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: “I don’t want strikes to go ahead. Like all parents, I’m concerned about the disruption that will cause but the only reason these strikes are happening is because government ministers haven’t been serious about negotiating. 

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The National:

“And of course, Nadhim Zahawi was the secretary of state at the time when this first reared its head. 

“When you’ve got ministers focused on their own tax affairs, it’s little wonder we don’t get proper negotiation on teacher pay.”

Phillipson was then pressed on whether or not teachers should be walking out. She replied by saying she would be “round the table trying to sort it out” if she were the education secretary. 

She added that teachers felt “undervalued and underappreciated” and that Labour delivered real-terms pay increases when they were in power. 

Kuenssberg then said: “Why won’t you answer that question though, do you think they should go on strike or not?"

Phillipson replied: “Because I want to be the next Education Secretary and I’d be a party to that discussion sat around the table trying to get a settlement, it’s not for me to insert myself into it in that way.”

Kuenssberg then pointed out that party leader Keir Starmer had previously said teachers should not take industrial action. 

She queried why Labour took one position before in 2021 but that Phillipson would not give a clear view now on what teachers should do. 

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Philipson added: “I want what all parents want which is my kids in school. The only way to sort it out is to get around the table and to have a conversation.”

She continued: “I never want strikes to happen. No worker wants to go out on strike.

“When you’re having industrial action that’s because you’ve got a failure to properly get to a position that everyone can live with.”