04 October 2013
Education Secretary Michael Gove is hardly a friend of the unions, having made attacks on teaching unions NUT and NASUWT plenty of times before. At the Conservative Party Conference this week he persisted with his anti-worker ideology.
“They’re the people who are standing in the way of progress. They’re the people who are the enemies of promise,” Gove said of the unions, who are protested for a better deal for teachers across the UK whose jobs – critical to our society, and to the success of the future – have become thankless.
It is the teachers who are blamed when national education policy fails, and they who are attacked if they stand up for their rights: for decent pay, decent working conditions and decent pensions. But, as it has oft been highlighted, teachers’ workplaces are children’s learning spaces, and this makes the conditions of their work of critical importance.
Ironically for a man who has consistently put profit above the needs of young people by ploughing ahead with academies and free schools that have proven to be unequal in their selection processes, recruiting unqualified teachers, and operated for profit, he told unions: “Please, please, please don’t put your ideology before our children’s interests.”
This was a political move by Gove, planned to coincide with strike action by the teaching unions in Yorkshire, the Midlands and the east of England on Tuesday (01 October 2013).
General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said: “This education secretary has angered and demoralised the whole profession. He really does need to listen to our concerns and many parents agree.”