TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NUT AND ATL MEMBERS have been voting to support a programme of discontinuous action to defend teachers’ pensions. Positive responses from schools around the country give every indication that the ballots will be won. That will allow unions to call a first national strike on Thursday June 30, joined in action by civil servants in PCS and UCU members in many colleges as well.
We have no alternative but to take action. Leaked reports have confirmed that the Government has made no attempt to reach any genuine agreement in their supposed ‘negotiations’. Instead, they have tabled plans for career-average schemes that are worse than anything that even Lord Hutton suggested - they could mean slashing teachers’ pensions in half!
It’s clear that this Government of millionaires wants to destroy our pensions scheme - and smash the public sector unions that stand in the way of their plans to slash jobs and cut and privatise education, health and all our public services.
Make no mistake, we are in for a serious battle that may well require a series of escalating actions, hopefully bringing others on board who have mistakenly stood aside like the NASUWT as well. But, together we are strong. It is the Con-Dems that are divided. We can force them to retreat. That’s why June 30 needs to be a massive show of our strength and determination to stand firm until we win!
Get ready for action:
1. Chase up the last strike votes
We’re going to get a big YES vote - but let’s make sure we get as big a turnout as we can too. Talk to your colleagues, give a reminder at staff briefing. Ballot papers have to be returned by June 14 at the latest.
2. Talk to NASUWT members
The NASUWT’s failure to ballot this term could be used by some Heads to keep schools open on June 30. Rather than go into work, NASUWT members can join the NUT for free up until June 30 and join the strike.
3. Encourage other schools too
Some school groups - perhaps where there is no active rep or in Academies with bullying managers - may not be confident about taking action. Local Associations need to make contact with all schools and reassure members that - once action is sanctioned by our legal ballots - they have every right to take part in this national strike.
4. Organise a hardship fund
A day’s pay is a small loss compared to what we stand to lose from our pensions. However, a hardship fund can avoid any colleague feeling they can’t strike because their finances are already too tight.
5. Ask Heads to close schools
NAHT and ASCL Headteacher unions have supported the joint “Save our Pensions - Now is the Time” poster. We hope that most Heads will agree that schools will need to close if NUT & ATL members are on strike. Staff in other unions cannot be asked to do any work that would have been done by their striking colleagues.
6. Get everyone involved on 30/6
June 30th will be a day for everyone to stand together in action - not stay at home to catch up on your marking! Even if your school is closed to pupils, a morning picket line is a good way to get everyone together - and to make an impact locally - at the start of the day’s activities.
7. Join your local strike rally
Striking unions - NUT, ATL, PCS and UCU - will be putting plans together for local and regional rallies. Just like March 26, these will hit the headlines and raise everyone’s confidence for the ongoing battle. Parents, anti-cuts campaigners and representatives of other unions and should be invited to take part too.
8. Get our message to parents
We need to leaflet parents to say sorry for disruption but to explain:
* Our fight is your fight - forcing the Con-Dems back on pensions helps defeat the rest of their cuts too.
* A fight for education - should classes be taught by a 68-year old?
* A fight for jobs - young workers will have no jobs but grandparents will be forced to stay in work.
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