In a provocative letter to teaching unions, the Education Secretary has confirmed that talks to resolve the industrial dispute will not change his pay and pensions reforms.
Michael Gove is once again on a collision course with teachers, just over a week after the NUT and NASUWT suspended a planned walk-out before Christmas, the Telegraph reports.
In a letter to the unions Mr. Gove insisted that his reforms are ‘fixed’ and ruled out any possible changes. Although he wrote that he was committed to “resolving your trade disputes” and that he had “offered a programme of talks”, he insisted that the talks would focus on the “implementation of policy, given that the direction of policy on pay and pensions is fixed following full consultation”.
In a further provocative move, he revealed that other unions would be invited to the negotiations, including two headteacher associations. “This will help ensure that all are represented fairly, and striking unions do not have any unfair advantage over other organisations which have not taken strike action,” he said.
The unions responded to the letter in a joint statement: “The NUT and the NASUWT are, therefore, disappointed that the Secretary of State, rather than seeking genuinely to engage in talks to seek to resolve our disputes has, in his letter of 6 November, resorted to provocation. The NASUWT and the NUT have issued today a further joint letter highlighting to the Secretary of State the importance of committing to genuine talks to seek resolution of the trade disputes.”
If negotiations fail to make sufficient progress, the unions warn that the planned national strike will go ahead no later than 13th February.
What do you think of Mr. Gove’s statement that his reforms are ‘fixed’? Would you support a national strike?