Schools in England and Wales will be hit by a teachers’ strike on 26th March, but the NASUWT hasn’t yet decided to support the industrial action.
The dispute centres on the Coalition’s introduction of performance-related pay and a tougher pension package, the BBC reports. Teaching unions last met the government for talks in October and since then postponed industrial action in favour of negotiations.
In the last two national strikes NASUWT members have walked out alongside their NUT colleagues, and if both unions take strike action on the 26th March nearly every school in England and Wales could be affected.
Referring to the discussions with the government last October, the NUT’s Christine Blower said: “Subsequently, the education secretary has put obstacle after obstacle in the way of talks, showing no serious attempt to resolve – or even to discuss – the matters in dispute. We on the other hand have made every effort. We cancelled the strike planned for November and postponed action in February. We have indicated we will meet with Michael Gove anywhere, any time to seek to resolve the disputes in the interest of the education service.”
Chris Keates from the NASUWT called on Michael Gove to resume talks: “The only way to resolve a dispute is for the parties directly involved to sit down to have serious discussions on the issues of concern,” he said. “The secretary of state needs to take the window of opportunity the NASUWT has offered to him to build trust and confidence with the teaching profession and to demonstrate that he is willing to discuss their deep concerns.”
A DfE spokesman commented: “Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the government’s measures to let heads pay good teachers more. They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and those talks will begin shortly. Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is nevertheless taking strike action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”
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