NEU stands up to Education Secretary’s “clumsy” criticisms of workers’ voice

Gavin Williamson branded the teaching union the "no education union" while promising a crackdown on workers' voice to backbench MPs.

30 Jun 2020| News

The NEU has spoken out after the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, reportedly branded it as a “no education union”, implying it has been obstructive in government attempts to reopen schools after they were closed due to Coronavirus.

A report in The Times at the weekend alleged that Williamson told the Tory 1922 Committee of backbenchers that teaching unions had formed “an unholy alliance” with the Labour Party to keep children out of school.

He went on to promise that his party would bring any “softly, softly” approach to the unions to an end.

“This is a clumsy attempt by Gavin Williamson to divert attention from his own lamentable performance as Education Secretary – and his failure to work with the profession to achieve the safe opening of schools, which the NEU wants and is working hard towards,” Joint General Secretary of the NEU, Dr Mary Bousted, said.

“The NEU has consistently said that we want to see as safe a wider reopening of schools as possible. What we have asked for is sight of plans for wider reopening and the scientific evidence that backs them. This is hardly obstructive.”

“Headteachers are crying out for clear guidance for September and do not want a repeat of the piecemeal information they have been provided with so far.

“We are presuming the government will have the foresight to also include in its guidance what to do in the occurrence of a second spike nationally or regionally.”