The NUT has shelved plans for a strike next month, but could take action alongside other unions in July, it announced today.
At its annual conference over the Easter weekend, members decided to back a strike in the week beginning 23 June. But today the union said that this action would be postponed “to allow time to see if progress is possible in the talks with government”.
If there is no breakthrough in the talks, which the union says will be attended by education secretary Michael Gove in person, the NUT says that it will take action on 10 July.
This is the date that has been mooted for a strike by the main unions representing school support staff. Unison, Unite and GMB are to ballot their members over strike action, after a 1 per cent pay offer was overwhelmingly rejected by their members.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “As a result of pressure from the NUT, ministers have finally turned up to the joint union talks. David Laws was at the last meeting and Michael Gove will attend a future meeting.
“In order to assess whether we can make real progress on the matters of most concern to teachers, the NUT has decided not to call the strike planned for the week of 23 June. This gives the government several more weeks to demonstrate good faith in the talks. The NUT’s national executive will discuss the talks process again when they next meet on 19 June.
“However, progress is by no means certain and it is very important that we keep up our pressure on the government. NUT members from across England and Wales will be lobbying their MPs in Parliament and in constituencies on 10 June to ensure that they are very clear about the issues of concern facing teachers and education. We hope this lobby can help avoid strike action.”
Ms Blower added that many members of the public share teachers’ concerns over the hiring of unqualified teachers and rising workload.
Next months’ lobbying, she said, “will send a clear message to government that teachers will not be silenced. If we make no significant progress in talks the strike action on the 10 July will be solely their responsibility.”