Gove misses opportunity to prevent strike

June 27 Strike Action in the North West of England

Yesterday the NUT and NASUWT met with Michael Gove to try to resolve both unions’ disputes on pay, pensions and conditions.

Over the last year, despite the Education Secretary’s protestations that he continues to talk to the NUT and NASUWT to resolve the dispute, he has made no effort to hold serious discussions with both unions or cease his escalating attacks on teachers.

Yesterday’s meeting provided him with an opportunity to avoid strike action on 27 June and demonstrate that he values teachers and wants to support and work with us to help students achieve the best start in life. Instead he failed yet again even to acknowledge the extent of teachers’ dissatisfaction and crumbling morale, let alone make any moves to meet the three reasonable demands we have put to him in order to avoid strike action. For that reason, our strike action on 27 June goes ahead.

We are asking that he establishes a series of meetings with the NUT and NASUWT, chaired by himself to address the issues under dispute and that he suspends the implementation of the changes proposed to the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, pending the outcome of these discussions. We are also asking that he publish the valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme conducted on the basis of the 2010 criteria and factors.

Despite yesterday’s meeting no progress towards a resolution was made. Both unions stand ready to meet again with the Secretary of State and have asked him to reflect seriously on the concerns raised with him.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Unfortunately, despite our willingness to engage constructively to resolve the dispute and avoid strike action, the Secretary of State seems determined to continue arrogantly to disregard the concerns of teachers.

“Teachers, children, young people and parents deserve better than a Secretary of State who prefers reckless game playing to constructive dialogue.”

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

“Responsibility for strike action on June 27 rests firmly with the Secretary of State. He has utterly failed to engage with NASUWT and NUT on the critical issues of our disputes. We stand ready to meet the Secretary of State at any time to resolve our disputes. It is now for the Secretary of State to approach this dispute in a serious and constructive manner to achieve a resolution.”

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