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Striking problems

My union sent me various reasons for going out on strike the day before Howard Stevenson, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Nottingham, wisely urged unions to consider the realistic chances of success ("Strike plans herald autumn of discontent", 6 September).

Union publicity informs me that taking action will, apparently, prevent education secretary Michael Gove from dismantling the national pay system, stop him from making me work longer and ensure that he does not lengthen my school day and year. To cap it all, one member of my union's executive is quoted as boasting that the momentum is growing and soon we will have many more unions out.

There would appear to be two obvious problems with this optimistic view. One is the intransigence of Mr Gove who, having decided to trust his own instincts and prejudices, is refusing to engage in proper consultation. The other is a union leadership that has listened to an activist base for too long and has delighted in being seen as part of the awkward squad within the Trades Union Congress. Meaningful negotiation requires trust but this is in short supply, so teachers and schools suffer.

Simon Horne, London.

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