Thursday 7 November 2013
Gove's next letter spells it out further: no meaningful talks
When the NUT and NASUWT released a press release saying that they had been offered 'meaningful talks', many teachers questioned what offer had really been made.
Regrettably, the latest letter from Michael Gove to the NUT and NASUWT, sent on November 6th, confirms that there was no serious offer of talks. In fact, Gove's reply reads like a slap in the face to both unions.
Firstly, Gove repeats the wording of his previous letters that "talks would focus on implementation of policy, given that the direction of policy on pay and pensions is fixed”. In other words, there is no meaningful discussion about the issues under dispute.
In this letter, Gove goes further and states that the talks would involve ATL, NAHT, ASCL, Voice and Edapt "as equal participants". So Gove is not offering to meet the unions in dispute but wants to make sure that the NUT and NASUWT are in a minority amongst the organisations present.
Finally, the talks will be "mainly official led", not even largely with the Secretary of State. Again, that makes clear that Gove believes that any talks should be about 'implementation', not about any change of policy over pay, pensions and conditions.
As I had warned in my election address for the Vice-President election, hesitation has indeed been taken as a sign of weakness by Gove. It's vital that we show Gove, and our members, our strength - just as we did during the regional strike action.