On Saturday March 9th, over twenty delegates and visitors, from eighteen different Local NUT Associations, travelled to Coventry from as far away as Plymouth and Hull to attend LANAC’s Steering Committee meeting.
Delegates reported how, across the Union, NUT members were expressing their determined opposition to Gove’s performance-pay proposals, but also expressing growing frustration and anger at the continued lack of national strike action.
By September, Gove’s legislation will have been enacted and schools will be expected to have adopted pay policies that show how all pay rises are linked to ‘performance’. That pressing timescale means that there is no more time for Unions to dither. LANAC believes that unions urgently need to implement a programme of strike action to combat the attacks on teachers’ pay – and on our pensions and working conditions too.
NUT Annual Conference in Liverpool over the Easter weekend will be key to making sure the Union adopts such a fighting strategy. NUT Associations have already submitted a number of amendments calling for national action to start soon after Conference. Birmingham NUT have called for a one day national strike in April with further action escalating each month of the Summer Term. Lewisham NUT have called for national strike action on Wednesday 1 May and on Thursday 27 June as part of an ongoing programme of rolling and/or national strike action continuing into the autumn term. Other tactical considerations such as how to build an effective organising and communications strategy, and the approach to take to negotiations and action at a school and Local Authority level, also need to be decided upon.
The Steering Committee agreed that LANAC will have a pivotal role to play in bringing together NUT Associations who support our call for urgent national action to agree a common approach. That’s why we will be building a LANAC Fringe Meeting at 7.30 pm on the Saturday evening of Conference (March 30) to try and agree a joint amendment to put to the expected Executive Priority Motion on Pay, probably to be debated on Monday. We have also selected floor managers to try and counter the manoeuvring that was used against LANAC calls for national strike action in the pensions’ debate at 2012 Conference.
Whatever is agreed in Liverpool, events over the last year show that LANAC has a vital role to play in continuing to build and organise a network of local associations and school reps – and to build for the national action that will hopefully be agreed. LANAC will be holding a further Fringe Meeting on the last evening of Conference (Monday April 1) to look back on Conference debates and to build for the future. That will include a drive to push for more NUT Associations to affiliate to LANAC and to build networks of reps in the regions.
A debate was also started on how teachers in Local Associations that haven’t yet formally affiliated to LANAC could be represented on the Steering Committee (at present each affiliated Association is entitled to a vote) and whether LANAC should call for support for particular candidates in the upcoming elections for NUT National Officers, NUT National Executive and the elections for NUT General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary. These discussions, alongside the key discussions about building national action, will continue at the next LANAC meeting on Saturday May 18.