The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said that talks with schools minister Gillian Keegan have failed to dispel the threat of a nationwide teachers’ strike. The union’s representatives met with Ms. Keegan on Thursday but reported feeling “disappointed” and “frustrated” after the meeting.
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The NUT is demanding pay rises for teachers, better working conditions and an end to the government’s controversial austerity measures in education. They also want increased funding for schools and support services.
Ms Keegan had spoken optimistically ahead of the meeting, saying she was “keen to listen” to what the NUT had to say. However, despite her willingness to engage in dialogue, the NUT said that the government had failed to offer concrete solutions.
After the meeting, NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “We are disappointed and frustrated that our talks with Gillian Keegan have not resulted in a positive outcome for teachers or children.” He went on to say that he believed it was still possible to avert industrial action but that this depended on the Government taking “concrete steps” towards addressing their concerns.
The NUT has now given notice of strike action, which could begin as soon as April 24th unless an agreement is reached. The union has urged both sides to continue talks to reach a deal which would prevent disruption for pupils and staff alike. It remains uncertain whether or not an agreement can be reached in time.
If the strike does go ahead, it could significantly impact schools across England and Wales, with parents likely to need to make alternative childcare arrangements and teachers facing disciplinary action for failing to attend work. The consequences of industrial action are always difficult for all involved, so let’s hope that an amicable resolution can be found before the April deadline.
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