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Teaching union in apology to parents
PARENTS in Worcestershire have been offered an apology for the strike action which crippled schools - with a union official saying teachers felt they “had no choice”.
Sean McCauley, a leading National Union of Teachers (NUT) branch organiser in the county, told your Worcester News it was a “last resort” tactic to try and get the Government to change tack.
Tuesday’s regional walk-out closed at least 40 schools across Worcestershire and partially-shut at least another 64.
The strike split reaction among parents in the county, with some backing it but others furious over having to fork out for childcare.
Mr McCauley said: “Essentially the Government had backed teachers into a corner, Michael Gove (the education secretary) was not willing to negotiate and they felt they had no choice.
“We know the strike did affect people and apologise for that, because we know it is an inconvenience for them.
“Anger on this should be directed at the Government. Morale (in the teaching profession) is low, only last year we had the fiasco about the English grades and the goalposts being moved.”
He also said the NUT leadership is hoping to meet with Mr Gove to thrash out a new deal, and if he is reluctant to meet, a fresh strike could take place in November.
“It very much depends on what Michael Gove does,” he said.
“I was out delivering leaflets last Saturday and I only had a handful of comments about the strike, so i do think there is understanding out there.
“We just want a level playing field.”
The action, which was mainly over changes to pensions, was organised by the NUT and the NASUWT.
Schools in 49 local authorities in the West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside took part, with a handful of other regions due to stage one on Thursday October 17.
The Department for Education has called it “disappointing”, but refused to comment on Mr Gove’s plans.
A spokesman said: “In a recent poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70 per cent either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.”
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