Strikes halted as talks agreed over five-term proposals

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Industrial action over plans to implement a five-term year in Nottingham has been suspended after "constructive" talks between teachers and Nottingham City Council.

Industrial action over plans to implement a five-term year in Nottingham has been suspended after “constructive” talks between teachers and Nottingham City Council.

The Acas-led discussions between the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and council officials have resulted in an agreement to hold a further meeting with all trade unions to “look at alternative models of terms and holidays”.

The council has agreed that its executive will consider the outcome of these discussions. The NUT has already held three days of strike action and had been planning more walk-outs.

The plans would see maintained schools in the city split their academic years into five terms of equal lengths with two-week breaks in-between and a four-week summer holiday. The change is planned for September 2013 for both secondary and primary – but it would not affect the city’s academies.

However, a ballot of NUT members in the city saw 90 per cent back strike action and three day-long walkouts took place in March and April.

The council launched a consultation with trade unions over the proposals in January but the NUT said that the authority had already made its decision. 

Tensions rose further after a letter from the council to the union threatened teachers that do not fall in line with the changes with the sack.

A joint statement from the NUT and Nottingham City Council, issued after the Acas talks, said: “The NUT has agreed to suspend any further industrial action while discussions are ongoing. Collective agreement on a way forward is still being pursued by all parties.”

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, added: “I am pleased that the NUT has reached agreement which provides for all options to be considered, to form part of constructive negotiations which will now involve all unions representing school staff.”

Cllr David Mellen, portfolio holder for children’s services with the city council, said: “I am pleased that progress has been made in our aim to best meet the needs of our city’s children in the way our terms and holidays are arranged.”


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