In a joint press conference taking place today (Fri 28 Apr) at school leaders’ union NAHT’s Annual Conference in Telford, the general secretaries of all four education unions will announce that they intend to co-ordinate their unions’ industrial action moving forward.
In an unprecedented show of unity, NAHT’s Paul Whiteman, NEU’s Kevin Courtney, ASCL’s Geoff Barton and NASUWT’s Dr Patrick Roach will speak together about their plans to continue the dispute with Government over pay, school funding, and workload and conditions.
This comes as NEU members take strike action on Thursday 27 April and Tuesday 2 May, and ASCL, NASUWT and NAHT announce they will ballot their members on industrial action this summer.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This is an unprecedented show of solidarity from the education unions. It sends a clear signal to government that our dispute is not going away. Any illusions they may have had that we would be put off by their derisory first offer and refusal to continue to negotiate should be shattered. School staff will not put up with eroded pay, squeezed school funding and unbearable workload and working conditions any longer – and we are fully united together in fighting for change.”
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of NEU, said: “In washing her hands of any responsibility for resolving the teacher pay and funding dispute the Education Secretary has united the teaching profession in its determination to not accept the poor offer currently on the table. Investment in this generation of children’s education, with professionals shown the value and respect they deserve, should be a priority. Parents and the education profession will be in no doubt that if further industrial action needs to be taken the blame for this will lie squarely at the Government's door.”
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “Teachers and school leaders across the profession have collectively delivered an overwhelming rejection of the Government’s contemptuous pay offer. Teachers know they are worth more than the Government has offered and are determined to continue their fight for a better deal. The Education Secretary needs to recognise that the way to resolve this dispute it by getting back around the table. The Government must negotiate a deal that is acceptable to our members or deal with the consequences.”
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We have made every effort to resolve this matter through other means. Sadly, the government’s refusal to reopen negotiations after their offer was comprehensively rejected has left us with no other option than to ballot for strike action. It is clear that all unions feel the same way and we are committed to working with them to fight for fairer pay, improved funding, manageable workloads and other changes that are needed to ensure schools have the capacity to provide the level of education that children and young people deserve.”