Monday 28 May 2012

LIverpool Conference - final agenda and statement

Local Associations National Action Conference
June 16 - Quaker Meeting House Liverpool L1 3BT
Where Next in the Pensions Dispute?

Past: For over a year, NUT members have been engaged in one of the most critical industrial disputes inhe Union’s history - to defend our ability to retire at a reasonable age from one of the most stressful jobs there is on a decent pension. After two impressive days of national strike action co-ordinated with other public sector unions on June 30th and November 30th, the campaign has lost momentum. There will be an important ballot this term, to widen the pensions dispute to other key issues facing teachers but, sadly, it seems there are no plans for the NUT to be taking national strike action for several months at least.

Future: The network of local NUT divisions and associations organising this conference want to rebuild the momentum we had earlier in the year. We want to give activists the chance to consider whether and how we can put the NUT back in the lead of the pensions’ dispute. We are inviting all associations and divisions to support the conference and to send delegates to take part in the discussion. Conference sessions will be introduced briefly by opening speakers but as much time as possible will be kept for delegates' contributions.

AGENDA:        10.30:  Registration - Tea and Coffee
11.00:    Opening Session - Where now for the pensions campaign?

Chair: Julie Lyon Taylor (Liverpool NUT Secretary and National Executive)
Introduction: Patrick Murphy (Leeds NUT Secretary and National Executive)

12.30 - 1.30 Lunch / Working Groups

(A) Making our voices heard within the NUT - how we can lobby/pressurise the Union to act? Led by Nina Franklin (Bristol NUT Secretary & ex-President) & Martin Powell Davies (Lewisham NUT Secretary & NEC)
(B) Getting the message to teachers - materials / organisation to win members to action. Led by Sue McMahon (Calderdale NUT Secretary)
(C) Building links with other unions Led by Dave Harvey (Croydon NUT Secretary and National Executive)

1.30 Final Session:
Chair: Steve Hafford (President Wirral NUT)
1.30: Reportbacks from the Working Groups
1.45 Preparing for the ballot on other issues - how we can win     that ballot - but use it to support - not to cut across - pensions action.      Led by Anne Lemon (NUT National Executive).
2.30: Proposals for action after the Conference - taking views     and amendments from Divisions to the statement proposed by the    Conference Steering Committee followed by voting on proposals.      Led by Greg Foster (Cheshire West and Chester NUT Secretary)
3:30 Closing speech: Roy Bowser, Barnsley Secretary & NUT NEC.
 Proposed Statement from the Steering Committee
This conference agrees to maintain and build a network  of local associations and school reps that will enable teacher trade unionists to exchange information, debate and discuss strategy to defeat the serious attacks we face, call on our National Unions to implement such a strategy, and organise solidarity between local and national struggles with the following aims:
1.    Continue to work at every level in the NUT for the earliest possible return to collective industrial action in opposition to the attacks on pensions and for a calendar of action that can secure further concessions from this weakened Government.
2.    Develop a fightback on workload, capability and abuse of classroom observations at school, local and national level based on collective action by members, including both strike and non-strike sanctions, non-cooperation, defined limits to workload demands and spreading success.
3.    Identify, develop and spread the best examples of effective, confident organisation in the workplace which can deliver action, involve members and breakdown divisions between school unions, and build solidarity with associations, school groups and other unions taking action.
4.    Welcome and seek to maximise the potential of the national joint  declaration of intent between the NUT and NASUWT on action to defend pensions & jobs, and to fight excessive workload, local and performance pay, starting by making every effort to win the national NUT ballot this term with as large a majority and turnout as possible.
5.    Work to ensure that the joint NUT/NASUWT initiative:
(a)    includes joint national strike action
(b)    clearly and explicitly addresses the issue of pensions and demands the re-opening of talks with government
(c)    leads to the development of rank and file links between the NUT and  NASUWT including across schools.
(d)    is not used to justify further unnecessary delay in taking action alongside other trade unions seeking to build co-ordinated strike action.
(e) includes far more effective sanctions than those in the existing NASUWT ‘action-short-of-strike-action’
6.    Fight to have these priorities endorsed and prioritised by the national union and every NUT association.

From this Conference, we propose that:

a. We agree to set up a ‘Local Associations Network’ from today’s Conference that:
i) Hosts a website to publicise the network’s aims, to share materials that can be used in schools and associations to build local and national campaigns, and to inform teacher trade unionists about the latest developments in union campaigns, decisions and debates on the National Executive, and about actions being taken by teacher trade unionists and other public sector unions.
ii) is co-ordinated by a Steering Committee elected at today’s Conference. In electing the committee, the conference must ensure that the steering group is not dominated by any particular geographical area or political viewpoint but is inclusive to the range of associations supporting the aims of the network.
iii) produces a report of the discussion and decisions at today’s Conference to be distributed as widely as possible and certainly by associations sponsoring the Conference.
b. We publicise the concrete actions suggested at today’s Conference including:
iv) Sharing and circulating model materials urging NUT members to vote YES in the new ballot.
 v)  Calling on school groups and associations to lobby their NUT Executive members by sending letters and motions calling on them to vote for national strike action to be held as soon as possible next term, co-ordinated with unions who are willing to take action, such as PCS.
vi) Inviting Executive members to Association and school group meetings to explain the position they have taken and to listen to the views of members in schools.
c. We convene a further Local Associations Conference  next term to review progress made in both revitalising the pensions campaign - and in building effective action to tackle the other attacks facing teachers and education - and to discuss our next steps.

 Divisions are invited to send amendments to this statement - and further suggested actions - to the  Steering Committee for debate on June 16.  
However, in making proposals, please bear in mind the time limits of the Conference and that we are seeking general agreement around a set of common aims. 


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