7 February 2014
The NUT is today announcing a national strike across England and Wales on Wednesday 26 March in pursuit of the disputes that Michael Gove has caused with the profession around pay, pensions and conditions. In the run up to the strike we will engage in all talks and encourage our members to leaflet parents and engage with politicians.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Michael Gove’s persistent refusals to address our ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and conditions of service, is unnecessary and deeply damaging. As a result, thousands of good, experienced teachers are leaving or considering leaving the job and a teacher shortage crisis is looming with two in five teachers leaving the profession in their first five years.*
“The NUT and NASUWT met with government officials in October – now over 17 weeks ago. Reassurances were given that Michael Gove would talk about a wide range of matters on implementation of pay and pensions and the direction of travel and implementation on conditions. 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.
“Strike action is always a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the fact that we have been put in a position whereby we have no alternative. The strike action can of course be called off. For this to happen, the Secretary of State needs to give reassurances that he will not go ahead with any changes which worsen teachers’ working conditions. He can step away from the proposals he put to the School Teachers’ Review Body. Further, he needs to commit to serious and substantive talks on the other elements of the dispute, including on pay and pensions.
“The responsibility for this situation lies fairly and squarely at the door of this intransigent Education Secretary. His policies are losing the coalition parties votes. It is time he changed his attitude and listened to the genuine concerns of teachers.”
* Sir Michael Wilshaw, 15 January 2014: “It is a national scandal that we invest so much in teacher training and yet an estimated 40% of new entrants leave within five years.” http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/north-of-england-education-conference-2014-hmci-speech