Strikes off as talks continue in Wales

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Teachers in Wales will not join in strike action on October 1 and 17 after a “constructive” meeting between union officials and the Welsh government.

The NASUWT and National Union of Teachers (NUT) are pressing ahead with regional walkouts in England on those dates, with plans for a national strike later this term.

A joint statement from the unions said: “In stark contrast to the attitude of the Westminster secretary of state, ministers in Wales had been prepared seriously to engage in constructive dialogue to seek to resolve these disputes. The Welsh government held detailed discussions with both unions.

“The new minister in Wales (Huw Lewis) has underlined the Welsh government’s continuing commitment to discussion to address teachers’ concerns and resolve the trade disputes.”

The unions said they welcomed the Welsh government’s discussions on pay, pensions and conditions of service and that there had been “good progress on recommendations to schools on appraisal”. Talks are to continue between the NUT, NASUWT and the Welsh government.

The unions are undertaking an on-going campaign of industrial action and strikes in England in protest at changes to teachers’ pay and conditions, including the move to performance-related pay. They are also angry at the cuts and devaluation of teachers’ pensions.

Education and skills minister Huw Lewis said: “Following constructive discussions between us and the unions I am glad they’ve made this decision. We will continue to work with the NASUWT and NUT to hopefully bring a quick end to their dispute with the Welsh government.”

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The Welsh government’s willingness to listen and genuinely to engage has enabled real progress to be made and consequently we are able to respond positively by withdrawing the rolling programme of strikes in Wales.”

Her NUT counterpart Christine Blower added: “We urge Michael Gove to follow the example of the Wales government and meet us to discuss and resolve these issues.”

Mr Gove recently told reporters that he was “happy to talk anytime, anyplace, anywhere to the trade unions to try and get them to see the errors of their ways”.


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