Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Teachers: vote Yes to strike - defend pay and conditions
James Kerr, National Union of Teachers rep (personal capacity)
"I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools become academies. However, having listened to the feedback from parliamentary colleagues and the education sector we will now change the path to reaching that goal." Nicky Morgan couldn't have made it clearer - the wholesale privatisation of our schools is still the Tories' aim.
For teachers that means the end of nationally negotiated pay and conditions and a potential free-for-all as academies attempt to drive down wages and conditions.
That's why from 23 May until 22 June, NUT members will be balloted for discontinuous national strike action to ensure pay and conditions are protected for all teachers, including those in academies.
NUT members will take heart though that Nicky has felt the need to change path. Again. This zig-zag comes off the back of u-turns on baseline testing and spelling, punctuation and grammar tests. This is a government in disarray over a host of issues and trying to weather the storms of the EU referendum. Teachers need to hold their nerve and consign these plans to the dustbin as well.
The signs are good, there have been big teachers meetings recently in Newham, east London, Oldham and Norwich (to name a few) with a determined mood. In Oldham the entire NUT membership of one primary school turned up, showing the strength of feeling. These meetings will be coupled with phone banking, school group meetings and more when the ballot gets underway.
Build for yes
Teachers should get on to their local division to see what they can do to build the yes vote.
The NUT's political campaign is also in full swing with rallies alongside parents and students in Manchester and Sheffield chiding the barbaric testing regime and the pressure on our schools to become 'exam factories'.
Parents, trade unionists and Socialist Party members should find out if there are events in their area to build the biggest possible movement against this government's plans.
We are not alone though. We have marched with the junior doctors and up and down the country workers are taking action against the effects of austerity on their jobs.