National teachers' strike called off after Michael Gove agrees to attend talks
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 22 May 2014
Teachers have called off national strike action pencilled in for next month following the intervention of ministers in their dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions.
Delegates at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference last Easter voted unanimously in favour of strike action, set to take place in the week beginning 23 June, because they felt they were making no progress in their dispute with the Government.
However, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has indicated he will attend the next round of talks with teachers’ leaders.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said the decision not to call a strike “gives the Government several more weeks to demonstrate good faith in the talks”. If there is no progress, a strike will take place in July.
The NUT, alongside with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, are protesting over plans to introduce more performance related pay, raise pension contributions and allow schools to remain open for longer.
A DfE spokesperson said: “There is no justification for further strikes which will disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession. The unions asked for talks, we agreed to their request and talks are ongoing. Ministers have also met frequently with the unions and will continue to do so.
“We know that the vast majority of our teachers and school leaders are hardworking and dedicated professionals. That is why we are giving teachers more freedoms than ever and cutting unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy. In fact, teaching has never been more attractive, more popular or more rewarding. A record number of top graduates are now applying to become teachers and there have never been more teachers in England's classrooms, with a rise of 9,000 in the last year.”
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