Thursday 2 May 2013

NUT National Executive Report May 2013 - Build for Strike Action


NUT and NASUWT members at June 27 rally in Liverpool
Michael Gove’s announcement that he plans to attack our holidays and conditions, on top of  his attacks on pay, have angered teachers right across the country.
In the North-West, those attacks will only encourage an even stronger response to the call for joint NUT / NASUWT regional strike action on June 27th. Over 500 teachers packed into rallies in both Liverpool and Manchester on April 27. Reps left inspired and even more determined to bring out every school on strike.
In London, according to the calendar of action agreed at NUT Conference, teachers will not be called out on strike until the Autumn. However, we can all play our part in building publicity for our campaign this term.
National Executive members for both Inner and Outer London agreed to propose to this month’s Regional Council that we confirm plans for a London NUT march and rally after-school on June 27 and to encourage leafleting on public stalls, particularly on Saturday June 8th. We hope that teachers can join colleagues in their local shopping areas - even if it’s not actually the borough that you teach in - on a London-wide day of action to explain to parents why Gove’s attacks are a dangerous attack on children’s education too. Many areas are also ‘twinning’ with North-West Associations  to send messages of support and to encourage action.
Our calendar of regional and national strike action continues next term. At well-attended NUT General Meetings that I attended in April - in Lewisham and Newham -  members asked that the Union made clear to teachers outside the North-West when they will be being called on to take strike action too. I am pleased that Christine Blower responded by saying those dates will be made clear. I understand it is likely that London teachers will take regional action alongside others in October. Teachers in other parts of the country may also have taken regional strike action in September. These regional strikes should build to a joint national strike in November - and further action beyond that.
The Lewisham NUT General Meeting proposed that the NUT call on other TUC unions to join with us in co-ordinated national strike action on that day - a demand that I fully support. Joint strike action across teaching and non-teaching unions can really help to pile on the pressure on Government to pull back from its continued programme of cuts and privatisation.
London teachers certainly need to prepare financially for action, putting a little aside to be ready for pay losses when we strike and/or donating to hardship funds to help other colleagues to take that action.
Every Association should be calling a reps’ briefing to explain the details of the model NUT/NASUWT model pay policy - and to organise to win its adoption in schools, across Academy chains and Local Authorities.
The NUT/NASUWT pay policy checklist has already been circulated and the May Executive discussed a draft of the full pay policy. It should be officially issued very soon. It is vital that school groups campaign to try and persuade Governors to adopt our policy so that staff can be protected from the worst of Gove’s proposals. However, it won’t be an easy battle. The NAHT have  issued advice that pay progression on the main pay scale depends on a teacher being graded ‘good’ according to Ofsted - perhaps even higher for the UPS!  If Governors try to impose such a policy, call for strike action in your school - co-ordinated across others too.
The Union is finalising a document setting out our vision for education in London, partly in response to some unhelpful proposals made by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
It covers some key issues for London teachers and schools, including planning for school places, poverty and discrimination, cross-borough coordination, recruitment and retention of teachers, professional development and our continuing opposition to academies and free schools.
We hope the declaration will be published shortly so that it can be discussed both by London teachers and by the politicians making decisions about education in the capital.
The NUT hopes to also be discussing with London Councils about the mounting pressures on pupil places with an estimated shortfall of 118,000 primary and secondary places by 2016. Yet London boroughs are short by roughly £1 billion in having the necessary funding required to meet these essential needs.
When we are leafleting parents about Gove’s attacks on education, we must make sure we also explain how Government cuts seriously threaten education provision in London and how fragmented free schools are not the answer either. We need to demand the funds needed to build the community schools our communities need.
Saturday May 18: London NHS Demonstration - Assemble at midday in Jubilee Gardens, Waterloo.
Saturday May 18: Local Associations National Action Campaign Steering Committee, Birmingham.
Fri 7 - Sun 9 June: NUT Young Teachers’ Conference at Stoke Rochford Hall, Lincolnshire.
Saturday June 8: Proposed London-wide leafleting
Sat 15 June: Charter for Primary Education Conference  at University of London Union, Malet St.
Saturday 22 June ‘People’s Assembly’, Westminster
Thursday 27 June: North-West Regional Strike action and proposed London march and rally
Saturday 29 June: National Shop Stewards Network Conference, Camden Centre, Judd St, WC1 9JE.
Saturday July 6: NUT Supply Teachers’ Conference  at NUT HQ Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
Sat 13 - Sun 14 July: NUT National Education Conference at Stoke Rochford Hall, Lincolnshire.

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