National Education Union Takes a Stand for Teachers: Government Must Drop Preconditions and Begin Serious Negotiations

It’s time to get fired up, folks, because the National Education Union (NEU) is taking a stand for what’s right! Teacher strikes are scheduled to take place next week, but the NEU has said they’ll be paused if “real progress” is made in negotiations over pay. This is a sign of goodwill on their part, but only if there’s substantive progress in talks.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan invited teaching unions to formal talks on pay, conditions, and reform, but only if the planned strikes in England and Wales are canceled. What kind of nonsense is that? The government needs to drop these preconditions and begin serious negotiations, as the joint NEU general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney have demanded.

It’s incredible that ministers are putting obstacles in the way of substantial negotiations. They need to show good faith and drop these ridiculous preconditions. The NEU is ready to negotiate every day, including weekends, to make progress. They’re even willing to pause next week’s strikes if negotiations make real progress.

But the government seems intent on sabotaging any meaningful progress. After a series of meaningless encounters, the secretary of state has finally extended a public olive branch with thorns attached that make it impossible to grab, as Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, has pointed out.

This is a ludicrous situation created by the government. They have no understanding of how to conduct good industrial relations. It’s time for them to wake up and do what’s right for our teachers and our students. The NEU is standing up for what’s right, and we should all stand with them!

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