Wednesday 3 July 2013

June 27 shows the way - now let's build to national action

ON JUNE 27, tens of thousands of NUT and NASUWT members took strike action across the North-West. It needs to mark the beginning of the end for Gove.

This article is taken from my latest July 2013 Martin4VP campaign newsletter which can be downloaded from:

Liverpool NUT report that 142 schools were totally closed, just 22 partially open, and only 3 unaffected. There was a similar solid response to the strike call in many other areas and big turnouts at local rallies.

As I have consistently argued ever since Michael Gove announced his performance-pay attacks back in December, the intolerable pressures in most schools mean that teachers will overwhelmingly support a clear call from their unions to take action. June 27 has confirmed that to be the case. Now we have to build on that success and confirm an ongoing calendar of action next term and into 2014. 

Our hesitation in calling action earlier this year gave Gove confidence to press ahead with his attacks. By September 2014, he plans to have wrecked our working conditions as well as our pay and pensions.

There can be no further hesitation. Unions need to give confidence to our members that we can force Gove back.  With a bold plan of action, reaching out to parents and the public as well, we can defeat this  divided and unpopular government’s attacks.

The dates for further NUT and NASUWT regional strikes need to be announced as soon as possible, so that Ministers - and our members - understand that June 27 was just the start of ongoing action.

It would be best for further regional strikes to take place in rapid succession so that we can then build quickly next term to the action that will have the  maximum  impact - and that’s national strike action.

Our twitter ‘teacherROAR’ was right to complain at the national media’s almost total silence about the success of June 27. National strikes will be much harder for them to ignore. National action can bring every teacher, in every region of the country, into a united display of our determination to stop Gove  wrecking education - and wrecking teachers’ lives.

Another advantage of national strikes are that they make it much easier to co-ordinate joint action with other trade unions in dispute against government attacks on their jobs, pay and conditions. 

We all know that ‘unity is strength’ but that unity needs not only be among teachers. November 30 2011, when hundreds of thousands of trade unionists took action together, was a high-point in organised opposition to Government attacks. The lack of co-ordinated action since then has helped them to press ahead with cuts and privatisation.  

It is time to rebuild that unity again. The success of June 27 will have helped ensure that united teacher action will continue next term. But let’s also make sure that we are sitting down with other unions and making plans for wider co-ordination of an ongoing action calendar  -  and continue until we win!

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