Teachers strike development as government and unions agree to 'talks'

Teachers strike breakthrough: Government and education unions agree to ‘intensive talks’ on pay, conditions and workload after this week’s walkouts

  • The Government and education unions have agreed to ‘intensive talks’
  • It follows strike action earlier this week from teaching unions  

The Government and education unions have agreed to ‘intensive talks’ on teacher pay, conditions and workload reduction, they announced in a joint statement.

The talks, which will focus on pay, conditions and workload reduction, will involve unions including the National Education Union (NEU), whose members were on strike in England earlier this week.

The news follows the breakthrough in the NHS dispute on Thursday, with leaders of nurses, ambulance crews and other health workers agreeing to suspend further industrial action while ballots are held on a new pay offer.

A joint statement by the Government and education unions said: ‘The Government and the education trade unions, Association of School and College Leaders, National Association of Head Teachers, NASUWT and National Education Union, have agreed to move into a period of intensive talks. The talks will focus on teacher pay, conditions and workload reduction.

The government has agreed to ‘intensive talks’ on teacher pay, conditions and workload reduction

Around 7 million school children saw lessons cut by this weeks strike action

‘In order for talks to begin and, we hope, reach a successful conclusion, the NEU has confirmed it will create a period of calm for two weeks during which time they have said no further strike dates will be announced.

‘The Education Secretary and all unions will meet today, beginning intensive talks, which will continue over the weekend.’

Earlier this week, around seven million school pupils were hit by strikes as their teachers walked out across the country in a dispute over pay – leaving their parents to pick up the pieces. 

Speaking during the strikes, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), told Times Radio he did not see parents as collateral damage in the strike.

‘But I do sincerely apologise to parents for the disruption to education today, and the disruption to their home and their working lives.

‘We think that parents understand the point that we’re making – that this generation of children, so hard-hit by Covid, has been ignored by this Government.’

Striking members of the National Education Union (NEU) South East Region at a rally in Chichester

He added: ‘It is no good politicians saying ‘Oh, the economy is not doing well, we’ll invest in five or six years time’.

‘This generation of children are in school now and they are losing out compared with other generations of children, and we are demanding investment for them.’

This week also saw walkouts by junior doctors, civil servants, lecturers, Tube drivers, BBC journalists and Amazon workers in one of the largest periods of industrial action since a wave of strikes began last year. 

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