Now every Association and every School Rep must go all out to get the biggest possible turnout for the national strike.
The NASUWT and, regrettably, now UCAC in Wales too, may have pulled back from action. However, nothing of any real significance has yet been gained from the 'talks about policy implementation'. If it is only the NUT that is prepared to stand firm for now, then so be it.
We have a responsibility to take the action needed to force politicians to change course. We must reverse the damage that has been done to teachers' pay, pensions and working conditions. In doing so, we will be defending education too.
Other unions may justify their inaction by claiming that Michael Gove has agreed to ‘serious negotiations’. Regrettably, the only thing that Gove is really serious about is attacking teachers and education.
Michael Gove represents a Government that is determined to cut costs, privatise services and encourage a precarious weakly-unionised workforce that will dutifully do the bidding of hard-nosed managers until they can take no more and resign. He isn’t interested in the fact that such a regime also damages education.
The Secretary of State has always said that he is prepared to talk to teaching unions. However, he has also always made clear that any talks could only be about 'implementation' of his policies to cut our pay and pensions and to deregulate our working conditions.
So, yes, talks with civil servants are taking place - but within the parameters set by Michael Gove. So, while the NUT is seeking to make the most from those talks, that limited agenda just isn't good enough!
Negotiations within Gove's 'implementation' parameters are unlikely to yield more than minor concessions - and, even then, it will be the threat of ongoing strike action that will be largely responsible for any gains that are made.
|'Precious little conceded so far'|
Teaching unions need to recognise that we will only win serious gains when we show that we are prepared to take serious action. That's why I am glad that, whatever doubts may have been harboured in some quarters, the NUT Executive rightly agreed unanimously today that our action goes ahead.
All of the indications are that the March 26 national strike will be well-supported, just as the regional strikes were last year. I hope that the strike will also generate momentum for further action to be called next term, so that March 26 is not left as just another isolated ‘protest strike’.
There is no room for hesitation over the next fortnight. Let's go all out to build the strongest possible national action on March 26.