Claim ‘nine in 10’ teachers voted to strike is misleading

13 January 2023
What was claimed

Nine in 10 of NASUWT’s members voted in favour of strike action.

Our verdict

This is missing context. Only 42% of NASUWT’s members voted at all. Of those who did, 90% said they were in favour of strike action.

Ballot Result: 9 in 10 of our members voted to strike for the pay they deserve.

This is such a strong ballot result. 9 in 10 teachers voting to strike.

The teachers’ union NASUWT claimed on social media on Thursday that “nine in ten” of its members in England and Wales “voted to strike”.

This news was also shared on Twitter by the National Education Union (NEU). The NEU retweeted NASUWT’s announcement, and said: “This is such a strong ballot result. 9 in 10 teachers voting to strike.”

However, as widely reported on Thursday, while 90% of respondents to the ballot voted in favour of striking, the turnout for the ballot (42%) fell below the threshold for lawful strike action. The turnout threshold unions must meet is 50% of eligible members, with a majority voting for strike action. 

This means that NASUWT’s claim—later reshared by the NEU—that nine in 10 of its members voted to strike is inaccurate, as more than 50% of its members didn’t even vote. 

According to Tes magazine, some NASUWT members said they had not received their ballot paper and were therefore unable to vote on taking industrial action. 

A spokesperson for the NEU told Full Fact: “The context [of the NEU tweet]  is clear that it refers to NASUWT members and to the ballot results- rather than all teachers it says ‘this is such a strong ballot result’. It is in direct response to the NASUWT tweet which states the same and is posted directly below our tweet.”

Full Fact has contacted NASUWT for comment. 

Image courtesy of Sebastien Bonneval

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