Sunday 30 December 2012

A plan of action for January

Tell your colleagues - tell the National Executive


MICHAEL GOVE has declared that he is on a ‘war footing’ to drive through his attack on teachers’ pay. We mustn’t let him succeed.

His attacks, leaving pay dependent on a manager’s view of a teachers’ ‘performance’, have nothing to do with improving education. Gove wants to cut salary costs to help his privatising friends and to try to cower and divide teachers so that we can be bullied and overworked even more than we are already.

Too many teachers already struggle to cope with relentless workload as we are expected  to somehow produce ever-improving results without the resources required to meet the growing needs of our pupils. Stress levels, resignations and demoralisation are rising. This is what teaching is already like in many schools before Gove tightens the screw even further. If he gets away with his plans, teaching will become a truly horrendous profession for too many.

But Gove’s plans can - and must - be beaten. If we organise effectively, and put in place a firm programme of national strike action, then we can force this Government to retreat.

Gove has declared 'war' on teaching unions because he knows our potential strength. When we take national action, thousands of schools are affected, working lives and the economy widely disrupted, trade union opposition to cuts demonstrated in every community. Just as we found when we struck over pensions in 2011, action can win wide public support, especially  if we go out and explain how Gove’s plans are wrecking education.

We must respond firmly and quickly to Gove’s attack.  As a start, we have to build the strongest possible support for a first day of national action as soon as possible this term.

That means talking to colleagues in your school and in other local schools, holding meetings to explain why we have to act.

It also means calling and emailing your National Officers and National Executive members, so that they know that you are ready and willing to take action.

This is no time for teaching unions to hesitate or retreat. We mustn’t repeat the delays of last year, when further pensions action was postponed - giving Gove the chance to step up his attacks. Regrettably, the NASUWT may not be prepared to call a national strike - so the NUT may have to initiate action without them, as happened over pensions. The NUT can’t delay, it’s time to act.


Tell schools

Local NUT Associations should make immediate plans to get out emails, newsletters and, above all, to call school meetings to discuss Gove's threats and explain why we need to take national action. But take your own initiatives too. Forward 'Classroom Teacher' to your friends and colleagues

Tell the public

Some school groups have already held school gate protests and sent photos to the local press. Some London NUT Associations are planning a day of leafleting and lunchtime protests on Wednesday 23 January followed by a protest outside NUT HQ at 5pm to show the support for action. What can you do? Feel free to copy and distribute the 'message to parents' in the latest Classroom Teacher

Tell your union

Make sure you attend local meetings and regional rallies to encourage your Union to call national strike action. Send in messages in support of action to NUT HQ and call and email your NUT Executive members to ask them to vote for national action when the NUT Executive next meets on Thursday January 24.

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