Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/758/16393

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2013

NUT teachers conference: serious attacks require serious action

Martin Powell-Davis, NUT national executive
NUT and UCU strike action in London on 28 March 2012 , photo by Senan

NUT and UCU strike action in London on 28 March 2012 , photo by Senan   (Click to enlarge)

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) Conference 2013 meets to debate how best to defend teachers at a time when education as a whole is under fierce attack.

As the best organised teaching union, the NUT has a huge responsibility to use its strength to push back a government determined to drive through an agenda of cuts and privatisation.

If teachers go out and explain how the Con-Dems' attacks on pensions, pay and conditions are part of a broader attack on education, large sections of the public can be won to support our action, just as they were when unions took national action in 2011.

Martin Powell Davies, photo Paul Mattsson

Martin Powell Davies, photo Paul Mattsson

Since then the full horror of the government's attacks is more widely understood. If we organise effectively and mobilise around a clear programme of action, then we can force them to retreat.

Tory minister Michael Gove has talked of declaring 'war' on the teaching unions because he knows our potential strength.

When we take action, thousands of schools are closed, working lives and the economy widely disrupted, trade union opposition to cuts clearly displayed in every community.

This government is not confident that it can push through its plans. It knows that, beneath the surface there is massive discontent at the banksters and the super-rich, who the government represents.

With its cuts packages threatening a 'triple-dip' recession, the Coalition is struggling to show that it has any solution to the continuing economic crisis.

Yet throughout 2012, the Con-Dems must hardly have been able to believe their luck. The retreat by unions such as Unison and ATL over pensions left other unions isolated and significant joint national action was not repeated again since November 2011.

That retreat also left some in the NUT leadership seemingly struggling with a crisis of confidence.

Instead of leading the way, as the NUT had done in June 2011, last year NUT only called a London regional strike which, although confirming that teachers would take action when a lead is given, wasn't then followed by further major action.

For over three months after Gove announced his performance-pay attacks in early December, no strike plans were announced.

Even the publicity for members seemed strangely muted. Leaflets had to be produced by Local Associations, 'Classroom Teacher' and others, from below.

Leadership

The leadership seemed to draw the conclusion that the NUT can't act alone - it has to make sure the NASUWT acts with us too.

Of course unions acting together adds strength - that's why the Socialist Party has been to the fore in campaigning for the TUC to discuss and build generalised strike action.

However, there's a balance to be struck at each stage between the benefits of taking joint action and the risks of having to go at the speed of the slowest partner.

The NASUWT remains a difficult partner to negotiate with - certainly at the top. Hopefully, out of joint action, links can be strengthened from below that can also put pressure on the NASUWT tops to maintain action.

The joint NASUWT/NUT 'action short of strike action' has won some gains and helped build union organisation in some schools.

However, school-by-school action asks a lot of local union organisation and has inevitably been 'patchy'. Localised battles are no substitute for national strike action to win our demands.

On pensions, we need to reverse the increased pension ages and win a pay rise that gives us back what we have lost to inflation and contribution increases.

On workload we need to win the 35-hour limit on working hours, with a maximum of 20 hours pupil contact time, listed in Motion 55.

Immediately, we have to fight to reverse the severe attacks on pay that will soon be legislated for in the Pay and Conditions Document.

Immediately, we have to build and escalate action on PRP. The NUT/NASUWT programme marks, at last, a return to action, but it needs strengthening.

It should start with a day of national strike action, linking with the PCS civil service union in June.

It would be best if this involved the NASUWT but the NUT must be prepared to take this step without other teaching unions if necessary.

If the NUT gives a bold lead then NASUWT members will demand that their leadership joins the action. The plans for the autumn term need to be announced and dates set for further escalating action in 2014.

This article is based on material in the Socialist Party bulletin at NUT conference. See the blogs of Socialist Party NUT executive members: electmartin1.blogspot.co.uk and electglover1.blogspot.co.uk

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


In The Socialist 27 March 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!

NUT conference: Serious attacks require serious action

Cameron whips up immigration fears to divide movement against austerity

What does the budget really mean for the housing crisis?

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Them & Us: Budget special


International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus bailout: Return of the eurozone crisis

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS budget day strike - M20

Thera care workers prepare for action

Striking against the 'fast track to the sack'

Workplace News in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex university occupation: 'they say privatise - we fight back and organise'

Why we're standing for TUSC

Sick of Your Boss gets going in London

Fighting the cuts: Birmingham and Exeter

Socialist Party appeals


The Socialist: readers' comments

Disability hate crimes - accomplices and victims

Danger: New secret courts in Britain


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 March 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

NUT:

triangleNEU conference: Teachers vote to strike over pay and workload

triangleNEU conference 2018: Strike to take on the Tories

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

Teachers:

triangleTeachers vote to ballot for strike to win 5% raise

triangleSouthampton asks "What will you do to stop education cuts?"

triangleCampaign against academies boosted by victories

triangleFor Whom the School Bell Tolls: Our kids or the Tories?

NASUWT:

triangleMood for a fightback at education conferences

triangleNUT to ballot for action over academies

triangleBig victory at Small Heath School against academy attack

Union:

triangleUsdaw conference 2018: time for new era of fighting trade unionism

triangleGender pay gap figures show need for trade union action

Pay:

triangleBromley library workers win strike campaign

Education:

triangleChild poverty to hit 5m by 2021 - strikes can stop the cuts

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

25/4/18

Labour

RMT Labour Party affiliation debate - where do socialists stand?

25/4/18

Immigration

Windrush scandal: Tories and Blairites must go

25/4/18

Election

Tories out!

18/4/18

Racism

Enoch Powell's racist 'Rivers of Blood' rant 50 years on

18/4/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

18/4/18

Super-rich

Billions for the bosses, benefit cuts for us

18/4/18

NHS

1,400 beds empty as patients lay in corridors: health unions must act now

18/4/18

Housing

Young people need homes

18/4/18

Labour

For a fighting, democratic Labour Party

11/4/18

EU

A socialist approach to Corbyn and a customs union

11/4/18

Child poverty

Child poverty to hit 5m by 2021 - strikes can stop the cuts

11/4/18

Equal pay

Gender pay gap figures show need for trade union action

10/4/18

Young people

Alienation and austerity behind London deaths - fight for socialism

4/4/18

Labour

Fight the Tory enemy

4/4/18

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: peace process on the brink

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999