NUT and ATL merger talks confirmed but Chris Keates wary of professional unity

The TES is reporting that the leader of one of England’s biggest teaching unions has spoken out against plans to create a new merged classroom “super union”.

After months of official denials, the ATL teaching union finally admitted that it is in talks with the NUT teaching union about “forming a new union for education professionals”.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said that she would “respect the decision of sister trade unions”, but she cautioned against the impact of professional unity, claiming that it was “better” for ministers to receive six letters from unions on issues such as pay, rather than one with six signatures.

Next weekend, delegates at the NUT annual conference in Brighton will decide whether they want the merger discussions with the ATL to continue, TES can reveal. If both unions get behind the proposal, special conferences could be held in the autumn to consider whether to ballot members.

The move would bring the prospect of a single national classroom union one step closer – after decades of campaigning – if the NASUWT was prepared to cooperate.

But Ms Keates said that her members had not been “banging down [their] door” about professional unity. “The fact is, it’s not an issue among our members,” she said…

See more in the 18 March edition of TES

More at: NUT and ATL merger talks confirmed but Chris Keates wary of professional unity


What do you see as the pros and cons of having a single teachers’ union and which way would you like this to go?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Would you rather there was just one combined teaching 'super union'?


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  1. simonwithey

    ATLRochdale ATLUnion NUTonline Finland has 1 teaching union. There’s been no industrial action since 1984! 1union 1 very LOUD voice

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Can I suggest Keates’ opinion on union mergers might be tainted by fact that her job would be under threat of it happened?

  3. Bigkid4

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove sometimes it seems they would rather an NUT action fail than succeed and improve something for their members

  4. Bigkid4

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove indeed. Seen NASUWT actively attempt to sabotage NUT actions and campaigns in the past. Sad.

  5. Mark Simmons

    A united teacher Union might successfully have fought prp, academisation…. We’ll never know.
    One Union gives power and can also BE our professional body, by teachers for teachers.
    I cannot see how Chris Keates could be against this for any morally defensible reason.
    Unite soon whilst we still have a profession to save.

  6. Jonesboy110

    SchoolsImprove Unite & act or state education is dead. Beware of infiltrators, too. Tories are developing a 2-tier private system.

  7. s_mowbray

    SchoolsImprove too little too late, toothless in an Academy Utopia. We had 60 odd NUT members systemically ‘moved on’ in SMeasures. NUT hid

  8. MikesuziNZ

    SchoolsImprove in Cda in the provinces there is 1 strong union and they change things. The government doesn’t control teachers!

  9. secretunionrep

    SchoolsImprove we desperately need this to happen right now. Education is in a crisis caused by abusive and punitive policies from the DfE

  10. secretunionrep

    SchoolsImprove well, be prepared to loose your members if that’s your attitude #chriskeates teachers and education need this right now!

  11. Julie Lanchester Harding

    Will the merge include fighting for more equal rights as a member of support staff. At the moment teachers have better rights regarding holiday pay….rather than term time only contracts etc

Let us know what you think...