Teachers to strike over pay and pensions dispute

Published on Friday, 07 February 2014 12:03
Written by Daniel Mason

Responsibility for strike action that will affect schools in England and Wales lies "fairly and squarely" with education secretary Michael Gove, the National Union of Teachers said today.

The union announced this morning that teachers would walk out on March 26 as part of an ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

According to the NUT's general secretary, Christine Blower, the dispute had caused "thousands of good, experienced teachers" to consider leaving the profession.

She said Gove's "persistent refusal to address" the concerns was "unnecessary and damaging".

The union last met government officials in October 2013. "Subsequently, the education secretary has put obstacle after obstacle in the way of talks, showing no serious attempt to resolve, or even discuss, the matters," Blower said.

The NUT first balloted its members for strike action over the issue nearly three years ago and has staged a series of walk-outs since. However, it cancelled a strike in November and then postponed another planned for this month.

Blower said that industrial action was "always a last resort" but that responsibility lay "fairly and squarely at the door of this intransigent education secretary".

"The strike 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 that worsen teachers' working conditions."

She added: "He needs to commit to serious and substantive talks on the other elements of the dispute, including on pay and pensions."

A spokesman for the Department for Education, quoted by the Press Association, said the strike, if it went ahead, would "disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession".

The department said it had attempted "constructive engagement" with the concerns.

Meanwhile the other main teaching union, NASUWT, has yet to decide whether to join the NUT action.

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