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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 April 2013

Call for national strike narrowly defeated at NUT conference

Joint teachers' strike starts in north west on 27 June

Martin Powell-Davies, Member of the NUT national executive
Tower Hamlets NUT joint strike action with Unison 31/3/11, photo N Byron

Tower Hamlets NUT joint strike action with Unison 31/3/11, photo N Byron   (Click to enlarge)

Teacher's union NUT conference has voted overwhelmingly to back the priority motion on "Protecting Teachers, Defending Education", thus endorsing the plan of action agreed with the other main teaching union, NASUWT.

This means that, at long last, a calendar of strike action, starting with a regional strike in the North West on 27 June, is set to begin.

However, the main debate was over an amendment proposing that we start our action with a national NUT strike on 26 June.

After an impassioned debate, in which the evenly-divided applause for respective speakers left everyone guessing as to the final outcome, the amendment calling for this initial one-day strike was eventually narrowly defeated on a show of hands.

The text of the amendment had been agreed at a packed meeting of the Local Associations National Action Campaign (Lanac) meeting on 29 March, with nearly 200 delegates in attendance.

To confidently build the regional action, details of the proposed calendar of action after the summer break urgently need to be announced by the NUT and NASUWT leaderships.

We don't want to be just hitting the headlines in the North West in June, we want to be hitting the national headlines - as really only a national strike can achieve.

I would have hoped that the NASUWT could have been persuaded to participate in an additional national strike in June.

Even if they had only felt able to stick to the previously agreed plan, the NUT would not have been acting alone on 26 June.

We could have sought to coordinate the action with other unions, not least the PCS civil service union.

Unfortunately, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka did not call on the NUT to join with other unions in taking coordinated strike action on 26 June.

Instead, at a fringe meeting following the Lanac meeting, he intimated his support for the joint NUT/NASUWT plan of action and cautioned against conference taking any decisions that might jeopardise that plan.

Regrettably, those arguments were taken up by the national executive speakers opposing the Lanac amendment to help argue against joint national action with the PCS.

It is now unlikely that national NUT/NASUWT strike action will take place until November 2013. The North West regional strike on 27 June will, however, still see a start to at least some kind of calendar of action, with further regions taking action in September and October.

We must make absolutely sure that this is, indeed, just the start of an ongoing and escalating campaign, continuing until our objectives are achieved.

For more see: electmartin1.blogspot.com/

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In The Socialist 3 April 2013:


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