THE Dutch Catholic Teachers Union, Katholieke Onderwijs Vakorganisatie, has told Birmingham archdiocese it cannot help in the recruitment of Catholic teachers.
Mgr Thomas Gavin, executive secretary of Birmingham Archdiocesen Schools' Commission, had earlier written to the union asking whether it could help in its search for Catholic teachers from elsewhere in Europe to fill vacant posts.
But KOV president G F van Dijk said he could not help because he would be supporting the British government's policy on pay and service conditions, which were at the root of the supply crisis.
"The government consistently declines to improve the conditions of service for teachers. By attracting foreigners, political pressure on the government would be decreased," said Mr van Dijk.
"International solidarity" with British teachers, he said, forbade him from taking any action to help Birmingham archdiocese. His refusal to assist was praised by Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary designate of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, who said Birmingham archdiocese's actions in trying to recruit staff from abroad would only put off a long-term solution to pay problems for teachers in this country.
Mr de Gruchy said this was the first time he had heard of a Catholic diocese seeking to fill its vacant posts from abroad, although the Department of Education had tried to recruit in this way.
Mgr Gavin said he supported better conditions and pay for teachers in Britain, but that he had a responsibility to find Catholic staff for the Catholic schools in his area. "If it seems that we clash with the unions, it's certainly not that we mean to," he said.
He said he had been to Ireland last September to try to attract teachers from there. So far, none of the attempts to recruit from either Ireland or elsewhere in Europe had met with any response.