NASUWT calls on Secretary of State to recognise damage inflicted on teachers

At its meeting on Friday 14 February, the National Executive of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, reviewed plans for the next phase of industrial action across England and Wales.

The NASUWT National Executive remains deeply concerned about the adverse impact of the Coalition Government’s policies on teachers’ pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

The adverse impact has resulted in teachers being angry, frustrated and demoralised and therefore the NASUWT’s continuing trade dispute with the Secretary of State is critical to resolving these issues.

In determining the next steps in the industrial strategy, the NASUWT National Executive noted two key developments which have taken place this week:

·        the publication of the Twenty-Third Report of the School Teachers’ Review Body, and the Secretary of State’s acceptance in full of its recommendations, which will ensure that important contractual entitlements of teachers are maintained;

·        the belated commitment by the Secretary of State to hold meetings with the NASUWT to discuss its trade dispute issues, with the agenda setting meeting scheduled to take place on 25 February 2014.

The National Executive also noted that teachers are concerned to ensure that the industrial action remains as far as possible pupil, parent and public friendly. They were particularly concerned by the widespread disruption already affecting children, schools and communities as a consequence of the winter floods crisis.

Although the NASUWT National Executive today reaffirmed its commitment to pursue all elements of its industrial action strategy, in the light of these developments the National Executive has no plans for national strike action this term.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The acceptance by the Secretary of State of the Review Body’s recommendations, which protect important contractual entitlements including provisions on working time, holidays, PPA and cover, has been welcomed by the NASUWT and by teachers in general.

“This development is a victory for NASUWT members who have shown support and solidarity for the NASUWT’s ongoing industrial action strategy.

“However, the imposition of adverse and damaging changes means that the teaching profession remains on the verge of a national recruitment and retention crisis. The relentless attack on every aspect of teachers’ working lives, as a consequence of Coalition Government reforms, is continuing to take its toll.

“It has been deeply disappointing to teachers that the prevarication by the Secretary of State has delayed meetings to seek to resolve the NASUWT trade dispute. However, his commitment this week to meetings to discuss the trade dispute provides a window of opportunity for genuine progress to be made.

“Teachers will expect the Secretary of State to show that he is seriously committed to building trust and confidence with the profession by demonstrating in these meetings that he is prepared to listen to and address teachers’ deep concerns.

“The NASUWT National Executive and NASUWT members recognise that the only way to resolve a dispute is for the parties directly involved to sit down to have serious discussions on the issues of concern.

“The NASUWT will therefore engage in the programme of talks with the Secretary of State and will review progress in the talks this term.

“The NASUWT will expect the Secretary of State to recognise the enormous damage that has been inflicted on teachers as a result of the changes to teachers’ pay, pensions, conditions of service and job security since 2010.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The NASUWT National Executive meets on a monthly basis to review the Union’s industrial action strategy.

NASUWT members have been engaged in continuous industrial action since November 2011.

The industrial action strategy has included:

·         action short of strike action instructions to protect and defend members on a daily basis;
·         strike action, including in individual schools and clusters of schools to oppose the imposition of punitive pay and performance management policies; a day of national strike action on 30 November 2011 in England and Wales; and a rolling programme of strike action on 27 June 2013 and 1 October and 17 October 2013 which involved all regions in England.

The NASUWT’s National Conference takes place on 18-21 April 2014 and key on the agenda will be the continuing industrial action strategy.

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
NASUWT
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk