Thursday 23 February 2012

Pensions - Update from today's National NUT Executive

As the NUT Executive was meeting today, surveys were about to be sent out to NUT members across England and Wales to ask for their support for further action – starting with a national strike on March 28.

Christine Blower confirmed that this was part of a common strategy being followed by a range of unions. The lecturers’ union UCU and the Welsh and Scottish teaching unions, UCAC, EiS and SSTA are also proceeding with a similar survey, as are the PCS civil servants union. NIPSA in Northern Ireland are ready to join with us on March 28. Healthworkers in UNITE may also take part and the prison officers union, the POA, will also want to show their support. Firefighters in FBU may not be ready to participate on March 28 but may well be ready to join in continuing action after Easter. Very few unions had actually signed-up to accept the scheme – ATL and VOICE are in a real minority.

The immediate priority is to get those ‘YES,YES’ votes out from as many NUT members as possible. Mailings, emails and meetings are being organised nationally and locally. Other unions are looking for the NUT to give a lead – and we will be declaring the results of our survey first on March 14.

With a supportive result, we will be set for a solid day of national action on March 28 – hopefully alongside the coalition of unions also pursuing further action. Beyond that, the Executive is already debating further action strategies, including the possibilities of further national or targeted strike action and we will return to that discussion when we next meet on March 14.

It’s clear that, without that action, the Government has no intention of withdrawing its pensions robbery. Worse, they have even more attacks in store from us.

Christine Blower reported that the Government had shifted slightly from its February 20 deadline to cease negotiations but, as they were refusing to provide any more funding, any last changes will only be about shifting around available funds. For example, if they moved to offset the discriminatory effect of the increased contributions on part-time staff, full-time staff would then just be expected to pay even more.

Let’s get those surveys back and give a clear message to the Government, teaching colleagues and fellow trade unionists – YES, we’re not accepting pensions robbery and YES, we’re ready to act on March 28 and beyond!

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