JANUARY is always a time for making resolutions - and some don't last for long!
2010 saw the beginning of the Con-Dem’s attacks on education - cuts to council budgets, plans for more academies and free schools, cuts to the EMA and increased tuition fees, plus Hutton’s first report on pensions.
But 2011 could be a decisive year for teacher trade unionists. Are we going to let our national conditions and pensions be slashed? Our schools cut and privatised? Or are we going to take the action needed to make the Government think again?
Their cuts and attacks are NOT necessary and - as long as we organise - NOT inevitable either. Instead of allowing them to ruin young people’s futures and teachers’ livelihoods through cuts that will only plunge the economy into a deeper downturn, we have to make a stand.
2010 saw the start of the fightback. Trade union banners were dusted off for local lobbies and regional demonstrations. The student demos at the end of the year showed that Britain could follow in the steps of countries like France, Greece, Spain and Portugal where huge protests and strikes have already taken place against cuts.
Now, in 2011, the trade union movement has to quickly make a choice. Do we meekly retreat or organise firm action? Surely, the answer is clear to all of us.
But, if we are to stand up for services, then it’s a step that ALL of us need to take. So don’t just leave it to your school rep or the Union ‘regulars’. Take a note of these diary dates - and join in!
January 15: In London, start the year on a local stall for the SERTUC Day of Action
January 20: NUT National Executive meets to debate timetable for strike ballot on pensions - make sure you make your views known beforehand in the NUT e-mail survey!
January 22: National Shop Stewards Network Anti-Cuts Conference, 11.30 - 3.30 in South Camden Community School, London NW1.
January 29: Youth Fight for Jobs, Education and the EMA. Show solidarity with our students. Join the demonstrations in London and Manchester.
February 19: Lewisham Anti-Cuts Carnival - join the march from Catford to Lewisham
March 26: 11am Victoria Embankment for the TUC March to Hyde Park