Teachers’ strike discussions continue – message from Christine Blower

Dear colleague

Since December, the NUT has continued to seek meaningful discussions with Michael Gove on pay, pensions and conditions which could resolve our dispute with him.

Game playing
Michael Gove’s game playing has, regrettably, continued. All the teacher unions have jointly rejected his attempts to obstruct the organisation of meetings – undermining the rights of every union, not just NUT and NASUWT – and told him that he must also meet NUT and NASUWT separately to resolve our dispute. But Mr Gove seems determined that any discussions will only be about “implementation” issues – not about the substance of his policies.

Be ready to take action
Government attacks are continuing and intensifying. Mr Gove’s proposals are totally unacceptable. Teachers cannot work to 68 or even longer. Loss of pay portability, tougher criteria for pay progression and unachievable objectives are already affecting many teachers. And Mr Gove will soon publish his proposals to deregulate our working time and working conditions – changes which could make our working lives impossible.

The NUT and NASUWT have previously declared that failure to make progress in discussions will lead to further strike action. The NUT National Executive reaffirmed this position yesterday and meets again on 30 January to make further decisions. Strike action is not our first resort – but it remains very much our intention if we cannot secure progress. For that reason, we are asking you and your colleagues to be ready to take further action if needed.

Coalition loses teachers’ support
The impact of Michael Gove’s actions on the coalition parties’ election prospects is becoming clear. The recent NUT/YouGov opinion poll showed how far support has fallen among teachers (whatever union they belong to) for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Successful strike action will increase Gove’s isolation and the pressure upon him.

Get involved and recruit a friend
Please consider getting more involved in your union. Go here to tell us that you’d like to get involved. If you have a colleague who is not in a union, please ask them to join the NUT here, the only union campaigning consistently for professional unity. Find out more about this campaign and a professional unity conference we are hosting on 1 March here.

Yours sincerely

NUT General Secretary

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