Monday, 8 September 2014

Lewisham NUT Officers call on Executive to reverse their mistaken decision

The latest Bulletin sent to NUT Secretaries has confirmed that, at Friday's meeting, the Executive agreed the following:
  1. That the Union continues with the Stand Up For Education campaign building on our success of last term and continues to seek to influence the policies of all parties which might form part of a new government.
  2. That the Union issue material to members to indicate how they can and should support the local government union strike if they strike on 14 October following the TUC, the PSLG, and the second meeting with the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan.
  3. That the Union encourages representatives and union groups to continue with ASOS and to encourage requests for escalation where that is appropriate over pay polices and appraisal policies.
  4. That the Union consults members on based on the proposed questions but refined if necessary following the TUC and Urge members to Vote YES*
  5. That the union continues to seek discussions with teacher unions as well as the wider movement about coordination of action
  6. That the Union continues to engage in talks with the DFE/Nicky Morgan pressing for discussion on matters of policy not just implementation and for real changes that will benefit teachers and education and to report fully on those discussions to members.
  7. That there should be a special executive on 23 October to consider the results of the consultation, the discussions with other unions and the talks with the DFE
* The proposed questions were:
1) Do you support the continuation of the Union's Stand Up For Education Campaign" and 2) "Would you support the NUT calling for up to two more days of strike between now and the General Election if the NUT executive believed this would help in negotiations with the Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan"

It was made clear in debate at the Strategy and Finance Committee that 'issuing material to members' in Point 2 was not intended to include calling on members to take strike action on 14 October. 

As you can read further in my post I therefore seconded an objection to replace 2 with:  “the Union calls for a further date of strike action to take place on October 14 alongside UNISON, GMB and UNITE to build on the united action that took place on July 10” adding, to take account of those who argued that plans might change over Congress, “If, following Congress and the PSLG any changes are made to the plans announced by the Local Government Unions, the Executive will consider these at, or before, the next meeting of the Executive on October 2nd”.

Unfortunately, this objection was defeated by 26 votes to 12.

In the light of this mistaken decision, the following was unanimously agreed at the Lewisham NUT Officers' Committee tonight:

Lewisham NUT Officers’ Committee believes that the majority decision of the NUT National Executive not to call strike action alongside Local Authority Unions on October 14th was a serious error. If not corrected, it will mean that we will have missed a golden opportunity to take further co-ordinated action and build on the July 10 strike, weakening not just our own campaign but also undermining the strike planned by our school support staff colleagues. We call on the Union to reconvene the National Executive as a matter of urgency following the TUC to reconsider plans for co-ordinated action.

Lewisham NUT Officers’ Committee recognises that Conference agreed that the Union should “consult with members about a series of strikes through the autumn term and into 2015” but believes that, having decided to set a timetable which closes on October 22nd, the Union simply has to make clear that views are being sought on further action to follow next. We call on our NUT members to return their ballot forms voting YES to both (1) continuing their campaign and (2) taking further action up to the Election

Finally, we note that the proposed ballot questions only give NUT members the choice of voting for “up to two more days of strike between now and the General Election”, not the ‘series of strikes’ agreed as conference policy. We call on NUT school groups to hold meetings to encourage a positive response to the consultation but also to discuss the campaign demands, activities and strike calendar which they think are needed if we are to take advantage of the crucial months up to the Election – and to email those views to both Local and National NUT Officers.

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