TEACHER strikes next week must be STOPPED if unions want fresh pay talks, ministers warned today.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has invited the NEU back to the negotiating table – but only if they halt walkouts.
Classroom strikes are taking place next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday across thousands of schools.
The NEU has been demanding an inflation-busting pay rise much higher than the 5 per cent offered last year.
But Ms Keegan's olive branch came as she recommended just a 3.5 per cent wage hike for next year.
Her department's submission to the independent pay review body also wants starting salaries to go up to £30,000.
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It will likely be met with fury from unions at the sub-inflation offer.
Deadlocked talks have led to historic industrial action from teachers despite pleas to spare kids more disruption.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Education Secretary has written to teaching unions inviting them to build on the constructive discussions that have already taken place and move into formal talks on pay, conditions and reform.
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“Our hope is that we can find a fair and reasonable settlement that recognises the vital role teachers play, while acknowledging the wider economic pressures facing the country and the government’s priority to halve inflation.
“A condition of these talks will be that the National Education Union calls off next week’s strike action.”
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