Thursday, 24 March 2011

Join the March 26 demonstration! - A Report from the NUT National Executive

The NUT National Executive met a day after the Budget – but two days before it will be answered by a massive demonstration on Saturday. Executive members reported that coaches and trains were fully booked from all parts of the country – with trade unions having to turn people away because there is no more transport available! It will be a tremendous show of opposition to cuts – and boost confidence for the battles to come over pensions, jobs and public services. London teachers need to be there in their thousands!

A Budget for the wealthy – at our expense

Osborne is claiming that he presented a ‘budget for ‘growth’ – but the only ‘growth’ will be in the size of private sector bank accounts as the Government helps their friends by cutting corporation tax.

Teachers will see their income squeezed – with inflation rising, national insurance increasing, a two-year pay freeze, cuts to child tax credits and the higher rate tax threshold kicking in at a level that will hit many London teachers. That’s before they try to steal another £100 a month or so for increased pension contributions (the pensions loss calculator on the national NUT website will give you a personalised figure for this pensions robbery).

With less money in people’s pockets, fewer in work, less tax income and less being spent on public services, the Government’s policies will CUT growth, not promote it. Small wonder that, behind the rhetoric, the Treasury had to reduce their growth forecast for the British economy.

Work until you’re 70?!

The Budget also confirmed that the Government were accepting Hutton’s recommendations to make us pay more to retire older for less pension. In fact, they’ve gone further. They propose that retirement ages might be increased even quicker and higher than Hutton suggested – do they expect us still to be working at 70?!

Knowing that their proposals have no financial justification, they are also planning to fiddle the figures by altering the ‘discount rate’ used to work out the costs of the pension scheme. That could mean even more pension contribution increases – unless we defeat these attacks through united action.

UCU lecturers took strike action in defence of pensions this week. If – as I am sure it will – NUT Conference gives the go-ahead for our own national ballot after Easter, then we can join with them – and other unions – in united action to oppose Hutton’s attacks in June. Let’s get a huge majority in that ballot and follow the massive demonstration on March 26 with a massive show of strength in June.

Teachers who want to join the NUT to make sure they are included in the pensions ballot can join for no charge from April 2011 as long as they make a commitment to pay the 2012 subscription.

Support Tower Hamlets and Camden NUT Action

NUT members in Tower Hamlets and Camden will be making their response before Easter – with one-day strike action against cuts to education services in their boroughs on Wednesday March 30.  Both Associations won good majorities in favour of strike action. After all, ‘Unity is Strength’. Instead of leaving colleagues to fight cuts and job losses alone, Authority-wide action like this means we can stand together to oppose the damage these cuts will inflict on schools, teachers and our students. In Tower Hamlets, UNISON will also be taking action alongside the NUT. Do send in messages of support to Camden NUT: and Tower Hamlets NUT:

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