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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 January 2014

Teachers need a date for national action

Martin Powell-Davies, Member of the NUT national executive

Teachers are facing yet more attacks on our conditions, when our existing intolerable workload is already driving many teachers out of the profession - a rate of 'wastage' that even head of Ofsted, Michael Wilshaw, has had to admit is a 'national scandal'.

Michael Wilshaw's answer to the crisis facing education - that teachers should 'stop moaning' is no solution.

Yes, we should complain but complaining will not change matters - only a serious campaign of action will do so.

NUT members are waiting for news from the emergency meeting of the National Executive that met on 16 January.

That meeting was called in the light of the commitment, made following the postponement of the strike action in November - a postponement that I opposed - that, instead, "in the event that insufficient progress is made in talks with the Secretary of State, a joint day of national strike action be called and taken no later than 13 February 2014".

Given that Michael Gove has so far refused to agree to meet separately with the NUT, NASUWT and Wales teachers' union UCAC to try and resolve our disputes, then clearly no such progress has been made.

However, Executive members have been asked to maintain confidentiality about the decisions made at the meeting.

All I can say is that discussions will be continuing at the next national executive meeting on 30 January and that, clearly, if action is to be taken before 13 February, then there is little time left to make such a strike announcement.

It's no secret the position that I would argue for: naming a date for a one-day national strike before 13 February as was promised, seeking to coordinate with other trade unions in dispute - like the RMT, FBU, PCS and Higher Education unions as well as the NASUWT, and, critically, making clear to both teachers and the Secretary of State that our next strike is not just a one-off protest action but part of an ongoing campaign with further industrial action and campaigning activities to follow in the spring and summer terms.

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In The Socialist 22 January 2014:


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Workplace news in brief


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Lincoln marches against racism and fascism

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Stop cuts in Kent

Carlisle petition


Readers' comments and reviews

Benefits Street: A caricature of poverty

Leeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

Robert Burns, insurrectionary poet


 

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