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National teachers' strike suspended until new year, unions confirm

A national teachers’ strike planned to take place before Christmas has been postponed.

Following two regional strikes this term, the NUT and NASUWT unions had previously announced that an all-out one day strike would be held before the end of term.

But, following a meeting of the NUT executive this afternoon, the unions have agreed to delay the next phase of their industrial action over pay, conditions and pensions until the new year.

TES understands that an alternative proposal by NUT executive members - to go ahead with a strike on 27 November - was voted down by 26 votes to 10.

A joint statement issued by the unions said they “welcomed confirmation that the secretary of state is willing to discuss a basis for genuine talks”.

As a result, the national strike has been suspended pending talks with education secretary Michael Gove to try to resolve the dispute.

The unions added that, in the “absence of sufficient progress”, a national strike in England and Wales will be held “not later than 13 February”.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “The public demonstration of the anger and frustration of teachers and the commitment of members to the action have secured the prospect of talks with the secretary of state.

“The secretary of state can be in no doubt about the deep concerns of our members and their resolve to defend their pay, pensions, conditions of service and jobs.

“Our members have no wish to see further disruption in schools and we welcome the fact that the strike action has provided a sufficient impetus for the secretary of state to agree to establish a basis for genuine dialogue.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower added: “For the sake of teachers and the future of our children’s education I sincerely hope that the Government takes these talks seriously and we find a speedy resolution to our dispute.

“Failure to do so will leave us with no choice but to take further action as the issues at stake are far too important to be swept to one side. If there has to be national strike action it will be entirely the fault of the secretary of state, Michael Gove.”

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