Saturday, 27 June 2009

Martin discusses with Isle of Wight members

An invitation to speak at the Isle of Wight NUT Reps' Training Day gave me a welcome opportunity to visit the island for the first time.

The meeting was certainly held in a more scenic spot than Lewisham can offer! But the scenery won't be too much solace for local teachers who face an uncertain future under school reorganisation plans which could see the end of middle schools and all their high schools turned into Academies.

Discussion therefore centred on TUPE and possible legal remedies to defend staff. However, as I also pointed out in my contribution on workload, while we have to use the limited legal protections we can find, the only real defence is union organisation, campaigning and action.

Members agreed with the need for national action to win real limits on hours and the Union's longstanding policy for a minimum 20% non-contact time for all. As John, the Association Secretary put it, that doesn't mean we want a 4-day week as the papers claim, but it does mean we want to win back a 2-day weekend!

A useful discussion began on what a program of national action to win such a demand might look like - national strike action, rolling action with levies from other regions and 'work-to-rule' action short of strike action too. Unlike the one-day strike on pay - which was enthusiastically supported but gave members no idea of where we were going next - we need to discuss and agree on a strategy that can win our demands and get maximum support from members across all regions of the Union.


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