Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 March 2008

NUT conference

Teachers balloting for strike action

STRIKE ACTION to oppose pay cuts, overwork and large class sizes. That was the main talking point at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference over the Easter weekend. Delegates met as the ballot on whether to hold the first national strike for 20 years was still taking place, and much of the discussion was about the next step if that ballot is won.

Steve Score

The government wants teachers to get a 2.45% pay rise at a time when the all-items Retail Price Index - which includes the cost of housing - is rising at a rate of 4.1%.Teachers are angry at this effective pay cut, but are also frustrated by huge workload and large class sizes.

Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies from Lewisham NUT quoted from a letter written by a young teacher explaining why he was one of the 50% of new teachers who leave the job within three years: "My school gives sausage factories a bad name!"

It was Socialist Party Teachers who raised at last year's conference that these issues should be linked together in national industrial action. At that time we were told that we had to take a "reality check", including by some of the left in the union, because the union would lose the ballot unless it focused on just one issue.

However, this year, it was the outgoing National Executive that proposed a priority motion linking these issues, including to ballot for further "discontinuous action" after the proposed strike day on 24 April.

This would be a huge step forward, but needs to be implemented quickly. After all, the last conference's decision to ballot on pay is only just being implemented now, a year later. Many teachers will ask on the strike day: "What happens next?" They know that the campaign will need more than a one-off day of action in order to win.

David Plews of Lewisham raised the concern that the executive's motion originally said that it would only "consider" discontinuous action. Indeed all references in later resolutions to a specific timetable for taking this action were ruled "out of order".

Reduce class sizes

It also became clear in debate that the executive did not want to commit to the next ballot for national action being widened to include both pay and workload.

However, an amendment, successfully moved by Socialist Party member Linda Taaffe of Waltham Forest and seconded by Martin Powell-Davies, ensured that this became conference policy.

Linda said: "The union must make clear that the next ballot will be for a 10% pay increase and 20% non contact time for teachers. These issues are part of the same problem."

Socialist Party members played a crucial role in the conference in pushing for clearer commitments to action. Robin Pye of St Helens moved a motion on fighting for smaller class sizes, calling for a maximum class size of 20 and a moratorium on school closures.

The executive attempted to remove the opposition to school closures. However, after Robin's reply explained that NUT opposition to school closures "brings on board the parents who campaign against the closure of their children's school, who can be our powerful allies," the executive were heavily defeated.

Following the conference, activists will be campaigning in their areas for a big turnout for the 24 April strike. But they will also need a clear timetable of action to follow on from that, linking their action on all the attacks on pay and conditions with the struggles of other public-sector workers. The newly elected NUT national executive should take steps to bring this about.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 25 March 2008:

Iraq: five year nightmare

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our hospitals!

Agenda for Change: Hospital workers' victory

A socialist alternative

Socialist Party workplace news

Teachers balloting for strike action

Northern Rock: Workers 'gutted' at the scale of job losses

Shelter workers angry at management

My bullying boss

Socialist Students

Our year of fighting back

Socialist Party news and analysis

A revolt against council tax?

Workers' flame burning brightly in Liverpool

International socialist news and analysis

Chinese regime suppresses Tibet uprising

Greece: Government pension attacks provoke general strike

Solidarity with Kashmir workers

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

World events and their repercussions


Home   |   The Socialist 25 March 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleEducation cuts forced back

triangleEducation cuts: Tories buckling under public pressure


triangleSchool spend is behind eastern Europe

triangleWorkers' struggles in Peru: eyewitness report

trianglePublic sector wages - Pay up!

triangleUnions call for action after Grenfell


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleWhat we saw


triangleNasty party out the Tories

Socialist Party:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice