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.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


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:


triangleMoney doesn't make up for cuts - education unions must organise for funding and against Tory attacks

triangleLeicestershire - No more austerity!

triangleNEU conference: organise for the key battles to come

triangleGovernment fails to deliver on funding and teachers' pay - demand action to win 5%

triangleNEU conference: Teachers vote to strike over pay and workload


triangleSchools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

triangleCarlisle election meeting: Education - time to make the mega-rich and corporations pay

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleIlford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts


triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case

triangleTUSC suspends electoral activity


triangleLondon Socialist Party: Workers' safety before bosses' profits

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis



Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan



Schools aren't safe



Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant



Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation



Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!



No return to unsafe construction sites



Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20


Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts



Postal workers' action results in double victory for union



Organising to fight for workplace safety



Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive



Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections



Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue



Trades council debates workers' political representation

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020