Commenting on Government plans to introduce minimum service levels (MSL) in schools and colleges during strike action, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The NEU strongly oppose the introduction of MSLs. We do not acknowledge the validity of MSLs given their impact on the fundamental right to strike, therefore we do not believe this is an appropriate topic for the Government or Department for Education to regulate.
“The Government, led by a Prime Minister not elected by the public and who has just had two historic by-election losses, has no democratic mandate to implement such an attack on our democratic freedoms.
“The Government would get further in minimising industrial action and disruption to schools if it engaged with unions on the issues that give rise to ballots. Gillian Keegan will be fully aware that unions including the NEU have comfortably passed voting thresholds designed never to be met, and on repeated occasions. Pay, workload and the recruitment and retention crisis will remain lightning rod issues for our members until the Education Secretary brings forward positive and substantial change.
“Gillian Keegan should turn her attention to the fact that every day in schools a level of service well below what should be expected is experienced by children and young people. Parents and students should not have to tolerate inadequate SEND provision, crumbling school buildings, a lack of school funding resulting in cuts to subjects offered, larger class sizes and schools being forced to use teachers who are not qualified to teach a given subject. These are the consequences of 13 years of Conservative education policy. Parents expect better, and our children certainly deserve more.”