Well over a million trade unionists are preparing to take strike action on Thursday July 10th. As the joint union flyer for the London rally in Trafalgar Square states, we are striking together for "Fair Pay, Fair Workload and Fair Pensions". In defending public sector workers, we are also defending vital public services too.
After a meeting between Michael Gove and the NUT GS and DGS this morning, the NUT has written to point out that the Secretary of State's response so far on all these issues ( in regard to teachers ) has not been anywhere near good enough. On pay, Gove has announced that 2014 will be the last year when a national set of teachers' pay points will be published and that schools can even now pick-and-choose who gets the annual pay award. On pensions, Gove and the Government still claim that 68 can somehow be an appropriate normal age of retirement for a teacher.
On workload, teachers continue to work far longer than even the EU's 48 hour weekly directive. Demands on planning and marking have been ratcheted up even further, driven by the pressures of Ofsted and performance-pay.
Thanks to the Union's action, the DfE have released some advice that contains a few useful nuggets about, for example, evidence being linked to appraisal objectives and not 'simply results' and Gove has confirmed that "a lesson plan is not required for every lesson". However, the threatening accountability system he is ultimately responsible for ensures Heads will continue to demand ever more evidence and workload from their staff.
The new DfE advice still makes clear that some teachers could be told they will not receive pay progression - and some Heads are already starting to tell teachers they will be losing out in September.
Teachers must keep up the pressure on Gove - and also warn any Heads thinking of blocking pay progression of teachers' strength and determination - by striking solidly next week, alongside our support staff and public sector colleagues.
If we are to win significant gains from Gove, then that action must continue and escalate after the summer break. A union-wide consultation exercise at the beginning of next term will be asking NUT members what action they are prepared to take to continue our campaign. LANAC will be urging NUT members to make clear that, having come so far, and facing such severe threats, we have no option but to do what it takes to stop Gove.