NUT EXECUTIVE DELAYS PAY BALLOT
ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR UNITED ACTION
The NUT National Executive meeting on Thursday October 4th again decided to put off the national ballot on pay that we have been waiting for. A majority voted to wait until after the Review Body has reported, rejecting a timetable for an earlier ballot that had also been suggested.
Their lack of urgency exposes a lack of belief that teachers are prepared to take action. Yet the hundreds of postings on pay listed on the National Union’s own website confirm the widespread anger against continued below-inflation increases and the difficulties colleagues already face in paying their bills. A determined leadership should certainly be able to translate this discontent into a positive ballot result.
What this delay also means is that they have thrown away the chance for NUT members to take united action on pay alongside UNISON support staff. UNISON are presently balloting for action on pay for action this November. In rejecting this golden opportunity for unity, the NUT leadership is letting down both teachers and our support staff colleagues. Instead of joint action, we face the prospect of NUT members being told to cross UNISON picket lines.
What a confidence boost it would have been to UNISON members in schools if they knew that teachers were also looking to take national action on the same day as them! There would then have been no doubt that schools would have closed across the country, making sure the pay cuts hitting all school staff were firmly in the headlines. It would have helped make sure that UNISON got a positive result in their ballot, in spite of the poor materials being circulated by the national UNISON leadership.
The Union will be preparing more materials for schools to explain our case for national action on pay. But why hasn’t more been done already? Of course, every NUT member must carry on explaining to colleagues why we can’t afford to sit back and allow five years of below-inflation pay increases to be imposed on us - and why we need to vote for national action on pay. But members will want to know when the ballot is happening!
The ballot timetable discussed at the Executive apparently proposes a ballot starting on December 10th to allow action in January 2008. I am sure I am not the only teacher that will think straight away that balloting in the crazy last weeks before Christmas might not be ideal.
Of course, we will have to make the most of what opportunity we are given by the Executive majority to take action to defend our pay. But their mistaken decisions again point out why we need a change in our national leadership. That’s why I am standing to be Vice-President in the National Officers elections.
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