NASUWT: Constructive dialogue delivers progress in Wales

On 18th March 2013 the NUT and the NASUWT, in the face of the continuing relentless assault on the teaching profession, announced a programme of escalation of action which involved a rolling programme of strike action in England and Wales during this term.

In letters to the Westminster Secretary of State for Education and the Education Minister in Wales, the unions set out how the rolling strikes could be avoided.

In stark contrast to the attitude of the Westminster Secretary of State, Ministers in Wales had been prepared seriously to engage in constructive dialogue to seek to resolve these disputes. The Welsh Government held detailed discussions with both unions.

Whilst the Westminster Secretary of State continues his reckless refusal to engage, the new Minister in Wales has underlined the Welsh Government’s continuing commitment to discussion to address teachers’ concerns and resolve the trade disputes. We have welcomed in particular the robust opposition of the Welsh Government to the Westminster Secretary of State’s attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions of service and good progress on recommendations to schools on appraisal.

In response to the progress made in the recent discussions, the NASUWT and the NUT have agreed to withdraw the planned two days of rolling strikes in October across schools in Wales.

Talks will continue between the NUT, NASUWT and the Welsh Government to seek to resolve the trade disputes.

Teachers in Wales and in England remain in dispute and industrial action on pay, pensions and conditions of service with the Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP, and plans remain in place for further escalation of industrial action.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said

“I welcome the fact that the Education Minister in Wales recognises that teachers are central to securing the highest standards of education for children and young people in Wales and is committed to ensuring that their concerns are taken seriously.

“The Welsh Government’s willingness to listen and genuinely to engage has enabled real progress to be made and consequently we are able to respond positively by withdrawing the rolling programme of strikes in Wales.

“Regrettably the position in England is entirely different.

“The Secretary of State continues to dismiss, with arrogant contempt, the concerns of teachers.

“Instead of hopping from one public platform to another, making increasingly delusional claims about how he values the profession, he needs to take seriously his responsibilities as Secretary of State which should transcend his own political agenda.”

Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary, said:

“We are pleased to report positive progress with the Government in Wales which has engaged with both unions to seek acceptable outcomes for teachers. This is in stark contrast to the situation in England with the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, who refuses to engage seriously on our dispute over his plan to worsen teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions.

“We urge Michael Gove to follow the example of the Wales Government and meet us to discuss and resolve these issues of critical concern to teachers. He must set aside this intransigence and engage with the NUT and NASUWT to resolve our trade disputes for the sake of pupils, teachers and education if further action is to be avoided.”