Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Please pass on this message to NUT members:

As national strike action is postponed again, now, more than ever, NUT members need to vote for clear, consistent leadership.

So, look out for your ballot paper at your home address from October 30 and VOTE 1 FOR MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES IN THE NUT VICE-PRESIDENT ELECTION

Martin Powell-Davies was right to warn about further hesitation being an encouragement to Michael Gove:

In his election leaflets, Martin pointed out that "perhaps Gove has singled me out because I have consistently campaigned for unions to put in place the calendar of national action needed to stop him. I called for continued action on pensions in 2012. Instead, union hesitation encouraged Gove to attack pay. Further hesitation would invite further attacks. Gove needs to know that we aren’t stepping back. We have a responsibility to teachers, and to the children we teach, to make sure that Gove retreats".

When the NUT Executive met last week, teachers were expecting a date for national strike action in November to be confirmed. Now, no national strike will take place this term.

The official reason being given to NUT members for this decision is that Michael Gove has agreed to 'genuine dialogue'. Even if that were true, it would have been far better to have announced a firm date for strike action, so that Gove knew what to expect once it became clear that he wasn’t offering serious negotiations.

However, the truth is that the Secretary of State has already made his position about talks very clear. His letters to the unions insist that the “direction of travel” on raising pensions ages to 68 and imposing performance-related pay is “fixed". He only wants to talk “about the implementation of these changes”.

Regrettably, the real reason that action was called off this term is because the NASUWT Executive wanted a postponement and a majority on the NUT Executive would not support striking without them. Of course joint action with the NASUWT would have had a greater effect but we’re in danger of having no serious campaign of action at all from either union.

Michael Gove's failing education policies - whether it be free schools, the lack of pupil places, or performance-pay - are increasingly exposed. Yet every time we hesitate, we give him more confidence to carry on his damaging attacks. It's time that we stopped hesitating and made sure that Gove is the one that has to step back, not teaching unions.

The fact that we're no longer going to be able to "strike together in November" is a setback for our campaign but now Martin's strategy to defeat Gove's attacks is even more important:

• Hesitation will only help Gove. Let's get every school out on a united one-day national strike
• Call on other unions - like fire-fighters, postal workers, civil servants - to strike alongside us
• Build united NUT/NASUWT school committees to keep up the pressure for joint action
• Sharpen-up our communications - make sure that every colleague, every parent, understands why teachers are taking action to defend education
• Campaign in our communities to broaden the support for our fight against Gove’s attacks
• Collect for hardship funds so that no colleague feels unable to join our strike action
• Continue our action next term; if Gove won't step back, then we should step up to a two-day strike

IF you want to make sure that we take the action necessary to defeat Gove's attacks, 

IF you want to elect a Vice-President who can be relied on to stand firm for teachers and education,


Science teacher * Secretary of Lewisham NUT * Member of the NUT National Executive * Convenor, Local Associations for National Action Campaign

READ MORE ON MARTIN’S BLOG: www.electmartin1.blogspot.co.uk

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