Friday 7 September 2012

NUT votes YES YES for action

The NUT National Executive meeting this afternoon welcomed the overwhelming results of our national ballots to seek to persuade the Secretary of State for Education to protect teachers' pay and working conditions:

The results for the votes covering teachers in England were:

In favour of discontinuous strike action YES 83.4%, NO 16.6%
In favour of industrial action short of strike action YES 93.1% NO 6.9%

Similar majorities were recorded for the ballots in Wales and in Sixth Form Colleges.

The overall turnout (of 27%) compares well with many national ballots especially given the timing of the ballot at the very end of a gruelling academic year. Above all, the huge majorities in favour show that NUT members are ready and willing to take action to oppose the barrage of attacks on our pay and working conditions being thrown at teachers by the Secretary of State Michael Gove.

On the basis of these overwhelming results, the NUT Executive voted unanimously:

  • For action short of strike action to commence (at a date to be confirmed shortly) *
  • In the event that the Government shows no evidence of moving on our concerns, the Union will approach the NASUWT with a view to moving to a programme of discontinuous strike action later this term
  • To propose to the NASUWT a joint meeting of our National Executives to consider the next steps in the campaign
A set of action short of strike action instructions will soon be issued so that urgent preparations can now be made in schools and Local Associations ready for the action to commence. This action will be being taken jointly alongside the NASUWT, representing, in total, 85% of teachers in England and Wales.

It was also reported to the Executive that, as part of our dispute with the Secretary of State, the ballot result will allow the Union to escalate action, from action short of strike up to strike action, where a school group, or groups, request it. This may rapidly become an issue in those schools and Local Authorities who are refusing to adopt appraisal/performance management and/or classroom observation policies in line with the NUT/NASUWT joint checklists.

The announcement of this overwhelming vote for action by NUT members nicely sets the tone for next week's Trades Union Congress and should give confidence to all those unions and TUC delegates that want to see a serious campaign of co-ordinated action - including plans for a 24-hour General Strike - being enacted by our movement.

The NUT National Executive also voted overwhelmingly to endorse the position correctly taken by Christine Blower and Dave Harvey, the two NUT delegates to the TUC General Council yesterday, to support the motion from the Prison Officers' Association calling on the TUC to pursue "far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike". With the General Council vote on support for this motion being tied 16 for and 16 against, this could yet become TUC policy!

The TUC Lobby being called in Brighton this Sunday by the National Shop Stewards Network this Sunday, calling for a 24-hour General Strike, could not be better timed. I will certainly be there - why don't you get there too!? (See:

* There will be a joint NASUWT/NUT Press Conference at the Trades Union Congress in Brighton on Monday where further details will be released

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