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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 January 2008

Teachers' union calls strike ballot on pay

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) national executive has announced a decision to ballot all its members for the first national teachers' strike for 21 years.

Linda Taaffe, NUT

This is because teachers need a pay increase at least in line with inflation. The last two years have seen teachers' pay rise less than inflation and the prospect now is for a further three years of pay cuts against a background of rising costs for basic necessities.

The government says the School Teachers Review Body's recommendation of a 2.45% increase for September 2008, followed by 2.3% in 2009 and 2010, is above inflation. But they are fiddling the figures. Real inflation is reckoned to be 4% and rising!

With no let-up in the pressures on teachers, especially our long hours, which mean some teachers are working for as little as 10 an hour, there is a mood to have a go. But a real campaign needs to be launched to get a massive 'yes' vote for action.

The ballot starts at the end of February, closing at the end of March. This period must now be used to build teachers' confidence and win over those who are unsure.

The executive has decided to change the previous policy for "discontinuous action" to a one-day strike, apparently to woo the more faint-hearted executive members.

Discontinuous action would have been a more serious national strategy. The leadership would have had the flexibility to call a one-day strike, and then further action, hopefully with other public-sector unions - a demand that the NUT put forward prominently at the TUC.

Although still possible to organise further action, it would require further ballots.

But a one-day strike would be an enormous step forward. It would rattle the government. It would bring teachers into national struggle, many for the first time.

It would be a signal to other workers, the teachers being the first of the public sector 2008 pay round. Against a background of stockmarket volatility and New Labour digging in its heels, we cannot afford NOT to have a serious fight back.

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In The Socialist 30 January 2008:

End this market madness

No more school closures!


Education

Teachers' union calls strike ballot on pay

Anti-war protests save teachers

Labour councillors anger parents and tenants


Socialist Party news and analysis

New Labour attacking our vital benefits

Incapacity benefit cuts hit the sick

Hain resigns but stink of sleaze remains


International socialist news and analysis

Jail break from Gaza

Suharto: "One of the 20th century's biggest killers and greatest thieves"

US elections: The Barak Obama mirage


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS in crisis


Debt and Housing Feature

Debt and housing slowdown threaten Britain's time bomb economy


Socialist Students

Student elections: Not just a 'beauty contest'!

College students seek socialist ideas

Reality of London students' debt trap

More foo than fight as rockers agree to cross picket line


Marxist analysis: history

How Hitler came to power


Global Warming

Global warming, climate change and human activities - Part 2


Socialist Party workplace news

Burslem postal workers march back to work

Giving the real facts on Burslem strike

National Shop Stewards Network meetings

Police march for pay

PCS suspends strikes


 

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