Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on a meeting this afternoon (Tuesday 14 March) between Geoff Barton and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, over the pay dispute and industrial action.
“Today’s discussion was helpful and the Secretary of State has listened to our view that progress will only be made by finding a way to reconvene talks with all the education unions collectively. It is vital that any further talks are accompanied by a meaningful offer on pay and conditions which ends industrial action and addresses the underlying teacher recruitment and retention crisis.
“To be clear. Talks had been taking place until the Secretary of State refused to engage further with all education unions. All of us had wanted the talks to continue. Her reason for ending talks was her view that the NEU should first pause strike action – despite there being no hint of an actual offer. This precondition created an impasse, and she subsequently rejected our joint call to bring in ACAS to conciliate. Parents should know that this week’s strikes could have been averted if proper negotiations had taken place to secure a settlement.
“This is extremely regrettable, but we will nevertheless continue to engage constructively and hope for a resolution in the near future.”