Wednesday 14 March 2012

NUT Executive proposes regional strike on March 28

The NUT Executive met this afternoon to consider the results of the pensions survey and to decide the next steps in our ongoing action to stop teachers having to 'pay more', to 'get less' and 'retire older'.

The survey revealed overwhelming opposition to the Government's pensions robbery with 96% voting YES to the first survey question. 

It also showed good support for an ongoing campaign of action with 73% voting in favour of continuing action on March 28 and beyond.

Mistakenly, it was agreed that, rather than calling national strike action at this stage, the Executive starts a campaign of regional action, probably starting with a London regional strike on March 28. This decision  is subject to an urgent consultation with London NUT Divisional Secretaries over the next 24 hours.

An amendment calling for national strike action, which I supported, was not carried but a further amendment, making clear that the agreed proposal was not intended as a one-off London strike but as part of an ongoing campaign, was strongly supported - again, including with my vote. This agreed that "we review at the Executive and at Conference further strike action with the intention of bringing all other regions in turn or together into the pensions action during the summer term".

The NASUWT have today publicised their rejection of the pensions deal but, apart from their limited work-to-rule, have not yet declared for any further strike action. We obviously hope that, following their Easter Conference, they will also be joining in that further strike action next term. We also hope other public sector unions will also be under pressure to rejoin action.

NUT Conference delegates in Torquay at Easter will certainly want to debate the pros and cons of regional action. I will continue to make my preference clear for national action - ideally escalated to a two-day strike.

We obviously hope that our London action on March 28 will be as part of a day of action alongside other striking unions in London and elsewhere, allowing NUT members across the country to also support local rallies and picket lines.

However, subject to the urgent consultation, the NUT's focus on March 28 will be in London. As a London NUT Executive member myself, I pledged to the meeting that I will be going all out alongside my colleagues to build the biggest possible regional action on March 28. However, I asked that all other regions give their support to London NUT members, including through donations to our hardship funds.

We cannot allow the Government to get away with their pensions robbery. Neither can we afford to retreat and give Gove and Cameron confidence to press ahead with their other planned attacks on our pay, conditions and education.

All eyes will now be on NUT members in London - as well as on the results of the surveys being announced by PCS, EIS, UCU and others. We have to show our strength on March 28 and beyond. With a determined campaign over the next two weeks, I am sure we can take the next step of building a strong London strike and also build firm foundations for the continuing campaign.

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