Sunday 9 December 2012

Gove goes to war - we have to engage in battle !

In the summary of the Review Body's shameful proposals that I posted soon after these attacks on teachers' pay were announced, I declared that Gove was going to war with teachers. 

Today's papers suggest that's exactly what Gove thinks too - see, for example:

When this Government came our for our pensions, shamefully, after two solid national strikes, most of the trade union movement retreated. That hesitation only invited these further attacks on our pay. (For details, see the presentation I gave to the LANAC Conference yesterday on )
This time, we have to engage in battle, not retreat and invite more attacks. That's why I hope that when we meet next Thursday, NUT Executive colleagues will vote with me for a programme of dates for strike action in January and beyond - a programme not just intended to protest, but to defeat these attacks.

We need to make sure that teachers go off to the Xmas break knowing that we are gearing up for decisive action in the New Year. If we let these 'pay-by-performance' attacks succeed, then teaching will become a completely demoralised and divided profession. We cannot let it happen.

Our action campaign has to be combined with a clear public campaign to explain to the public why these attacks will damage education and why parents and teachers need to fight together against Gove's attempts to divide and dismantle locally accountable comprehensive education.

We have to point out, as an article on the BBC website does today  (, that international research debunks all of Gove's claims, showing that "there is no clear link between performance pay for teachers and raising standards in schools" and that "performance pay raises many difficult questions" such as "how is performance to be reliably and fairly measured? How can an individual teacher's impact be separated from the contribution of other staff?"

But of course, Gove won't be dissuaded by research and logical arguments. His is an ideological war to drive down the costs of education to make it more attractive to his privatising friends who want to run public services for their own personal gain.  

What is needed is firm strike action. Gove knows that's what can defeat his plans - which is why the Sunday Times says he is discussing how to legally challenge our action. But our action will be entirely legal and entirely justified. It will be action to defend both teachers and education as a whole.
As we found during the 2011 pension strikes, trade union action against this increasingly hated Government will win public support. As the Chicago Teachers' Union also found this year, even in the face of vicious press attacks, parental support can be won to bold strike action (see video from yesterday's LANAC Conference on ).

If you agree that we need to set dates for national action, make sure you tell your NUT Executive member before the National Executive meets on Thursday !

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