Wednesday 5 September 2007



Teachers will have come back to school clinging on to their memories of a summer break when we can remember what it’s like to forget about the stress of the classroom for a week or two.

Those of us who are trade unionists will also have been left smiling by the pictures of prison officers being led into action by their union leaders – despite the Government trying to make their action unlawful. But more than a few NUT members will also have been thinking – “when are we taking the action agreed at Easter’s Annual Conference on pay?”

July’s NUT Executive again put off any firm decision and so there’s no firm news that we can yet give our members. However, Steve Sinnott’s preference is to wait until the Government respond to whatever the Review Body’s recommends in November. That would leave January 2008 as the earliest likely date for any national action – a plan that – whatever its intention - seems designed to lose the momentum that has been built up.

However, I was called today by a member of UNISON’s National Executive to be given the encouraging news that, despite the opposition from some of their leadership, their national council has voted to ballot their Local Government members to oppose the shoddy salary deal that their members are being offered.

If their plans go ahead, this could see school support staff – and other local council colleagues – balloting for a possible strike in mid-November. Surely the NUT can’t stand aside and leave teachers facing UNISON picket-lines instead of balloting too?

Now’s the time to announce that the NUT will be balloting too, sending a warning shot to both Ministers and the Review Body, and approaching other unions to join in a solid public sector action to show Gordon Brown that we aren’t putting up with “2%” !

Martin Powell-Davies September 4th 2007

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