Teachers postpone pay row strike

Braintree and Witham Times: The NUT has postponed a strike planned for the week of June 23 to see if progress can be made in talks with the Government The NUT has postponed a strike planned for the week of June 23 to see if progress can be made in talks with the Government

A planned national walkout by teachers as part of an ongoing row over pay, pensions and conditions has been called off.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) were due to stage strike action in the week beginning June 23.

In a statement, the NUT said its executive had decided to postpone the stoppage to see if progress could be made in talks with the Government.

If there is no progress, the union said it will strike on July 10 - a date earmarked by several other unions as a likely day of industrial action.

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 23rd 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 19th 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 the 10th 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."

She added: "The consequences further down the line of this Government's education policies will be disastrous for a free and fair education system for all. Education is far too important an issue to ignore.

"The lobby of Parliament on 10th June 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 10th July will be solely their responsibility."

The NUT's statement comes as it was announced that around 250,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services union will take part in a consultative ballot next month to seek backing for co-ordinated industrial action.

NUT members voted for further strikes, including next month's planned walkout, at their annual Easter conference.

Delegates overwhelmingly backed a priority motion calling on the union to co-ordinate national strike action in the week beginning Monday June 23 if ''significant'' progress was not made in resolving the long-running dispute.

The NUT said at the time that it would not rule out more than one day of strikes and the motion also left the door open for further action in the autumn.

The move was condemned by the Department for Education (DfE).

The week of June 23 comes at the end of the summer exams season, with timetables showing that at least a dozen GCSE and A-level papers are due to be sat by students on the first two days of the week of that week and one advanced maths extension paper scheduled for the Wednesday.

However, NUT leaders had insisted that their strike action would not disrupt exams.

The NUT's dispute, which has been going on for more than two years, focuses on three issues - changes to pay, pensions and workload.

Last year, the union staged a series of regional str ikes with the NASUWT teaching union. Between them they represent the vast majority of teachers.

A proposed one-day national walkout in November by the two unions was called off and the NUT held a national one-day walkout without the NASUWT in March.

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