Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/497/2683
Another missed opportunity on teachers' pay
Despite the usual end of term frenzy in schools, many teachers responded to the National Union of Teachers' (NUT) call to make known to the union their disgust at Brown's proposed measly 2% a year pay increase up to 2011.
Yet once more the NUT national executive put off the decision to ballot for action. Although worthwhile proposals were agreed, like re-affirming our intention to ballot for action in the autumn term, continuing approaches to other public-sector unions, and other teaching unions, nevertheless the crucial decision to announce our ballot as early as possible in September was delayed.
According to the general secretary we had to be patient and flexible! So patient and so flexible that his preferred time scale was to ballot in November or December and take action in January. But even the Left were not prepared to push for an early timescale.
The motion the Left had constructed, was looked upon so approvingly that the Right saw no need for a proper debate and moved to the vote after only one speaker!
Although the Left characterised this unanimous vote as a move a bit further along the road to action, that remains to be seen. Sometimes it makes sense to be cautious; sometimes the very act of prevarication can undermine trust in the leadership.
At the moment the government is doing its best to keep workers divided by taking them on separately. It is, therefore, urgent to bring all public-sector workers together as soon as possible.
If the NUT had declared a ballot in September it would have been a warning to Brown that teachers are not going to take 2% lying down.
It would have sent a signal to the PCS civil service union and the post office workers that we are moving into line with them. It might also have helped local government workers in their ballot.
The whole case to bust the public-sector pay limit would have been strengthened. Now we have to wait until September to try and make headway.
In The Socialist 26 July 2007:
Postal workers' strike
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Tales from the council chambers
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
Socialist Party reviews
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis