Entirely predictably, it seems that today's 'talks' at the DfE (apparently just with civil servants, not even with Michael Gove himself) have again failed to address any of the real issues at the heart of the NUT's dispute.
As today's National NUT press release states, "It
has been agreed that a weekly series of talks will take place which the
NUT will fully engage in. However, the Government is still insisting
that they will only be used to discuss the implementation of policy". No surprises there then!
To be fair to Gove, he has been entirely consistent in his attitude. He has always made clear that he was prepared to organise talks - but only to discuss how his policies are to be implemented. The inconsistency has come from the trade union side, who regrettably gave credence to the idea that genuine talks might have been won.
Unfortunately, the NASUWT seem to want to maintain the illusion that genuine negotiations are taking place. Correctly, although belatedly, the NUT has recognised that, in order to apply the pressure needed to persuade Gove to properly negotiate, national strike action is required.
While Gove may have been forced by the Review Body to retreat on some of his planned attacks on conditions, he is quite clearly still determined to cut costs by making teachers work even harder for less pay and pension. An equally determined plan of ongoing strike action needs to be organised to force him to think again.
National strike action is the best way to hit the headlines and force politicians to take note. That’s why every NUT member needs to take strike action on March 26. However, March 26 mustn’t just be another isolated ‘protest’ strike but the start of an ongoing calendar of action that can apply sufficient force to make Gove retreat.