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Teachers union head says talks with government have been ‘silly’ and ‘vague’

A TEACHERS’ union head has described talks with government officials so far as “silly” and “vague” ahead of planned strikes this week. 

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, said officials had failed to give the union enough information about a possible deal to pause strikes.

Officials have instead repeated that there is “no money” to meet the union’s demands of an above-inflation pay rise, she said. 

NEU members are due to walk out of classrooms in the north of England on Tuesday in a dispute over poor pay and under-resourced schools. 

The Department for Education said last week that it was prepared to enter “formal talks on pay, conditions and reform” but only if the NEU calls off strike action this week.  

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Dr Bousted blasted the government’s precondition as “unacceptable.” 

“It’s a huge thing to ask a union to stop action which has got the government to the table when the government is only saying we will enter into negotiations,” she said. “We have no idea what those negotiations will encompass.”

Dr Bousted suggested that the government could not be trusted to keep its end of the deal if the union agreed to call off the strikes. 

Asked about the state of the negotiations in recent weeks, the NEU leader said: “The talks so far have been silly … and just so vague, there was none of the information or statements that more money would be made available in order to base serious negotiations.” 

She urged the government to “stop the silly preconditions” and “sit at the table and negotiate.” 

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