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Unions' fruitful partnership

Working in partnership is sometimes a difficult process, with disappointments as well as successes. However, in the end it is the best way to make progress.

The teaching unions working in social partnership with the Government have achieved real gains for teachers: pay increases; career opportunities; improved cover arrangements; and guaranteed planning, preparation and assessment time. Teacher unions had been calling for these improvements for years, without success.

By refusing to walk away when the going got tough, we ensured teachers'

views are listened to by the Government. And we will keep negotiating on the key issues of pay and workload until agreement has been reached.

Already, we have blocked alarming pay proposals that are affecting other public-sector staff.

It's always easier to carp from the sidelines than get involved ("Fraternal greetings", TES, January 27), but our unions believe collective strength is our best weapon.

Mary Bousted General secretary Association of Teachers and Lecturers, 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2 Chris Keates General secretary NASUWT, Hillscourt Education Centre, Rose Hill Rednall, West Midlands

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