NUT letter to Education Secretary comes amid signs that ministers and unions are preparing for showdown over regional pay

Tim Lezard

NUT-wanted-placard_croppedThe NUT has written to the Education Secretary Michael Gove requesting urgent and ‘meaningful’ negotiations over pay, pensions and working conditions.

(Pictured: NUT members on strike, London. March 2012)

It comes amid signs that ministers and teaching unions are preparing for a showdown over the threat of regional pay for teachers and classroom workloads in England.

The letter from NUT general secretary Christine Blower accuses the government of being ‘disingenuous’ in earlier statements about the pay dispute, but says she hoped face-to-face negotiations would provide a ‘turning point’.

The schools minister in the House of Lords last week indicated that the Coalition government was taking detailed steps to ‘minimise the impact’ of industrial action – including strike-breaking measures – to allow head teachers to keep their schools open during industrial action.

Christine Blower said: “Over the months of this dispute, no meaningful talks have taken place.

“Instead, the Education Secretary has introduced new measures that have worsened teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions.

“The NUT will go into these talks prepared to reach a fair resolution.

“We do hope the Government will do the same and that this will be a turning point in the Government’s attitude. We look forward to hearing from the Secretary of State at his earliest convenience.”

The NUT has organised a mass lobby of the Department for Education next month, while the union’s executive is expected to consider renewed calls for immediate national strike action over pay when it meets later this month.

Speaking in the House of Lords last week, the Parliamentary under-secretary for schools, Lord Nash warned that Coalition ministers would “support any individual school that is taking a robust stance against industrial action”.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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