Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 April 2010

NUT conference again calls for action on workload

Merlin school teachers on their picket line in March 2008, photo Martin Powell-Davies

Merlin school teachers on their picket line in March 2008, photo Martin Powell-Davies

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) annual conference, which took place in Liverpool over the Easter weekend, showed that the conditions teachers now face are similar to those of workers across the public sector where pay and conditions are being eaten away.

Jane James

The most anger has been shown over the issue of workload. For a number of years teachers have had to mark unnecessary tests along with unnecessary grading work and checks on children, resulting in work taking up evenings, weekends and holiday time. A report has shown that teachers are now doing 18.7 hours of extra work a week, meaning that they are in effect working the first four months of the year for free.

In 2008 and 2009 the conference voted for a national ballot on action over workload, up to and including strike action. However, in both years the union executive did not carry out the resolution. An amendment was passed with this year's motion on workload, which calls for preparation for a ballot to start now and for the ballot to begin on 19 April when the summer term starts and support should be built for action.

The resolution was passed unanimously, so now teachers have to wait to see what the leadership will do. Though there is a 'left' majority in the union leadership, it does not automatically mean that they will actually implement the decisions of conference.

Some of the debates on workload incline towards individuals saying: 'I'm not working any longer, I've done my contractual hours and I'm going.' However, because of the levels of bullying, it has been pointed out that it would be better for teachers to take national action together.


Other issues raised at the conference included over-sized classes and the continual privatisation of education in terms of academies, the so-called 'free school' policies that mainly benefit middle-class people and other initiatives that attack state education.

Another conference issue has been supply teachers, showing the casualisation taking place in schools where 10% of the teachers are supply staff working for agencies who are not paid the full rate for the job. One conference speaker demanded that supply teachers must be unionised immediately and given the rate for the job, and that the union has to fight to stop 'teaching on the cheap'.

On 16 April the outcome of the ballot against SATs tests will be announced. However, the ballot has only been for head teachers and deputy heads in the NAHT and NUT. The action is only at the level of heads not opening test papers. Ordinary classroom teachers have not yet been balloted, and most of these teachers do not know that this protest is going on. Many teachers are angry that they have not been encouraged to take part in action over SATs.

A Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) meeting took place in Liverpool during the conference which was attended by 60 people including TUSC candidates in the audience as well as on the platform. Alex Gordon, the recently elected RMT rail union president who spoke at the TUSC meeting, was also available to speak at the teachers' conference particularly about the court injunction that stopped the RMT strike planned for 6-9 April, but the NUT executive turned that offer to speak down.

A very successful Classroom Teacher meeting was attended by 37 people and more people signed up to receive the Classroom Teacher circulars, which are produced by members of the Socialist Party and others.

Socialist Party member and Lewisham, south east London, teacher Martin Powell-Davies, recently elected to the new union executive, spoke at the conference on a motion against cuts by whichever party leads the next government.

Unison: vote Roger Bannister

At the Liverpool TUSC meeting (see main article), held during the NUT conference, TUSC candidate in Manchester Gorton and Socialist Workers Party member Karen Reissman called for 'one left candidate' in the Unison general secretary election. However, it was clear that by this she meant supporting Labour Party member Paul Holmes who supports continued Unison funding of New Labour.

All TUSC supporters should support Roger Bannister in the Unison election, a Socialist Party member who has consistently called for a break of Unison with New Labour as part of reclaiming the union as a democratic organisation that fights for its members.

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

In The Socialist 7 April 2010:

Defend jobs and services - Fight for a workers' alternative - Vote TUSC

General Election 6 May: A Socialist Challenge

Socialist Party editorial

Mobilise to defend the right to strike

London Underground workers balloting

Socialist Party election campaign

Stand up for the millions, not the millionaires!

Reject the parties of cuts and privatisation

Socialist Campaign launched in Coventry

New Labour meltdown in Stoke

Making an impact in Huddersfield

Hazel Must Go! opposes cuts to Salford NHS

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Socialist Party campaigns

Cuts bite in north west

March to defend the welfare state

Tories reveal yet more anti-gay bias

'Free schools' or free-for-all?

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

NUT conference again calls for action on workload

Ex-Visteon workers continue fight for pensions

Industrial news in brief

Socialist Students

Mobilise students and workers to defeat cuts and tuition fees

International socialist news and analysis

Kazakhstan: "change the politicians - or they will change you!"

Mass protests and strikes continue to shake Algeria

Tekel workers brutally attacked by police


The real lessons of the poll tax


Home   |   The Socialist 7 April 2010   |   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


triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangleTeachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

triangleStriking back against academies in Newham


triangleOutrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

triangleTUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

triangleBuilding support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections


triangleYork Socialist Party: Perspectives from the National Commitee

triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions



German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more



Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success



Nottingham hospital black alert


East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference


West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference



Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead



Bradford protests against kids' service cuts


May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!



Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget



Save Salford nurseries!



Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved



Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation



Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!



Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


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: 0191 421 6230

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



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018