Even while the National Executive was meeting, reports were coming in of new victories being won over workload, appraisal and observations. These gains were being achieved by NUT members making clear to Heads that they will be sticking together and implementing the joint action guidelines.
One Lewisham reps texted me to say that a planned ‘learning walk’ had been cancelled after the NUT group had objected as it would exceed our limits on annual observations. Another reported that they had secured a calendar of one meeting a week - and that included TLR holders.
Similar success stories were reported from right around the country - more are reported on http://classroomteachers.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/action-wins-victories.html
WE'RE READY TO ESCALATE TO LOCAL STRIKE ACTION TOO
It was also made clear that the NUT is ready to support requests from school groups to escalate to strike action - with strike pay - where Heads are refusing to reach agreement with NUT members over key issues like observations.
NUT Division Secretaries should contact their NUT Regional Office and/or NUT Executive members to start the fast-track process to consider requests for strike action. If there is clear support for action, the NUT can quickly issue a notice sanctioning strike action - and without the need for an additional strike ballot. For example, action may soon be called in a Tower Hamlets school in a dispute over a threatened 'mocksted' inspection.
We also ratified the NUT's model contract setting out the 35 hour working week that we are fighting for, in place of our existing open-ended contracts. This would limit overall weekly working-hours to:
- a maximum 20 hours of pupil contact time
- at least 5 hours of non-contact time for planning, preparation and assessment
- no more than 5 hours for non-contact duties such as breaktimes and meetings
- 5 further hours of PPA time outside 'directed time'
EXECUTIVE VOTES TO FIRM UP PLANS FOR JOINT NATIONAL STRIKE ACTION TOO
October’s meeting of the National Executive unanimously voted to build on the policy agreed at the TUC’s national Congress to support co-ordinated national strike action to defend pay, pensions and jobs.
Christine Blower will now be writing to other unions to “explore the practicalities of a co-ordinated programme of strike action”.
The motion also called on NUT negotiators to firm up and clarify with the NASUWT how we can build from ‘action short of strike action’ to set dates for a programme of national strike action. Such a programme of strike action will be vital given the further attacks that could soon be coming - on top of those we already face.
The Public Service Pensions Bill will receive its second reading on 22 October. It will legally force pension ages in the teachers’ scheme to be the same as the state pension age - which will be rising to 68 or more.
The Government will also soon be announcing the pay cuts we can expect to get next April when our pension contributions are put up again - and then again in 2014.
Later this term, we also expect to hear what the School Teachers Review Body has to say about our pay arrangements. As the Executive motion noted, this could include “serious reductions in the ability to move up the pay spine and even the possibility of headteachers reducing the pay of teachers”.
The full wording of the motion is in a previous post but the action points at the end of the motion - which I helped to draft - were as follows:
“ 1. The NUT negotiating team should urgently meet with the NASUWT to explain that the NUT believes that it is now time to discuss the circumstances in which joint strike action will be called and to consider when we set dates to commence a programme of national strike action;
2. The General Secretary writes to other TUC affiliates, particularly those in the TUCG, to explore the practicalities of a co-ordinated programme of strike action on pay, pensions and jobs.
3. The General Secretary and negotiating team will report on progress to the November meeting of the NUT National Executive”.
NOW LET’S MOBILISE TRADE UNIONISTS TO MARCH ON OCTOBER 20
NUT members shouldn’t leave these cross-union discussions just to take place amongst the union tops. Talk to NASUWT colleagues in your school - and members of other teaching and support staff unions as well.
Millions have been marching aginst austerity right across Europe. Now we need to turnout in our hundreds of thousands here in Britain too!
Bring your family and friends to the TUC march in London on Saturday October 20 - and ask everyone you meet on the demo to call for joint co-ordinated strike action too!