Thursday 14 July 2011

NUT Executive agrees next steps in campaign to defend our pensions

The NUT Executive met on July 14th to review our solid strike action on June 30th - and to lay firm plans for continuing the campaign next term so as to force this discredited Government to retreat.

The June 30 strike exceeded expectations in the number of schools closed by action, the turnout on the day and in the way we convincingly got our arguments across to the press and public.

Over 80% schools were closed partially or totally by strike action. Reports suggest that nearly 80,000 people took part in the over 70 rallies that were held right across England and Wales on 30th June. In every area, NUT members were in a majority, with young teachers to the fore.

The campaign also built the union. Many new school reps have been recruited. Head office was deluged by calls and applications from teachers wanting to join the NUT to take part in the action. On top of the normal membership growth we might expect at this time of year, early indications suggest that at least an extra 6,000 teachers joined the NUT as a direct result of the campaign.

Feedback suggests that the areas with the best turnouts were those that had organised most school meetings and the biggest local reps’ briefings to build for June 30. Every association needs to plan ahead for meetings next term, targeting those schools where we need to get our message across. After the success of June 30, and after a well-earned break, we have to be ready to get straight back into further campaigning and to prepare for further national strike action.

A plan of action for Autumn Term
The campaign steps agreed at the Executive were:

* Continuing to work closely with the ATL, UCU and PCS over negotiations, campaigning and action.

* In addition, continue to seek support for a joint campaign from other teaching unions including the NAHT, ASCL and NASUWT and Scottish and Irish unions - as well as other non-teaching unions.

* Agreeing a further date for co-ordinated national strike action - on a day close to half-term - to go ahead unless negotiations show real progress.

* Before then, building the highest possible public profile and backing for the campaign including by:

A major effort around the ‘Fair Pensions for All Petition" including Saturday stalls advertised to members, circulation to local trade unions etc.

Activities around the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in October including the TUC-backed regional march, a retired teachers lobby and a major public meeting. Activities could be organised around the Lib Dem Conference in Birmingham as well.

A Mass Lobby of Parliament, probably just before the half-term break, to give final notice to Ministers that, if they don’t retreat, we will be taking further national strike action. This won’t just be a token lobby of a few per constituency. We plan to get at least one teacher from every school, backed by the strike ballot if necessary. We want each school to decide who they will send as their representative to join a queue of thousands of teachers outside Parliament.

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