Teachers' unions threaten joint strike action in autumn

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by evoko, May 28, 2012.

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  1. [​IMG] Teachers' unions have threatened strikes in the autumn against 'attacks' on jobs, pensions, workload and pay. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

    Schools in England and Wales face the threat of strike action in the autumn after the two largest teaching unions – representing 600,000 teachers – announced an "unprecedented" joint protest over the government's education policies.

    The NUT and NASUWT, who between them represent nine out of 10 teachers in England and Wales, have called on the education secretary, Michael Gove, to hold joint talks with their general secretaries or face walkouts by more than 600,000 education professionals after the summer.[​IMG]

    Alluding to historic tensions between the unions, the NUT's general secretary, Christine Blower, said the government had succeeded in bringing together the UK's two largest teaching organisations in a "historic" agreement. "Michael Gove has managed to get us to a point where we are making a joint declaration," she said.

    She added: "We would say this is quite unprecedented and historic. This is the first time that we have actually put anything out which categorically bears the emblem 'joint declaration of intent'. This is qualitatively different from what these unions have done before."

    However, the NASUWT's general secretary, Chris Keates, said a merger between the unions was not imminent. "At the moment the focus has to be on the savage attacks by the government. Our priority at this time is protecting teachers in the profession."

    In a joint statement, the unions criticised "sustained attacks on working conditions, pensions, pay, conditions of service and the threat to jobs".

    Both unions took part in the 30 November public sector strikes over pensions reforms.

    The unions said if the government failed to reach "sensible agreements which protect teachers and defend education" then they would move to jointly co-ordinated strikes in the autumn. The campaign would include joint work on political lobbying, public campaigns and research.

    Both general secretaries accused the government of undermining teachers through pension reforms, a two-year pay freeze and its flagship free schools policy.

    "In the commercial world if you are the chief executive of a company you don't improve things by constantly talking down the people you employ," said Blower, whose union will seek a fresh ballot to widen the terms of its industrial mandate.

    However, recent signals from Gove's department do not augur well for the NUT and NASUWT. A leaked briefing from Gove's chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, lambasts the unions for their "refusal to face reality over grade inflation and the dumbing down of exams".

    Keates said the concessions being sought by the unions were, essentially, a request for the government to cease its reform drive.

    "We are actually saying 'leave well alone'. The pay and conditions structure [was] paying real dividends in raising standards in schools."

    Keates said strike plans had not been formalised and the unions' industrial strategy – also dependent on an NUT ballot – would be determined by the government's response to its ultimatum. "What we don't want to do is be upfront, setting out our timetable for strike action … What form strike action will take depends on the response from the government."

    In a statement issued by the Conservative party, the Conservative MP for south Staffordshire, Gavin Williamson, accused the unions of putting pupils' interests second. "Parents will be concerned at the threat of further strike action, particularly with a pension deal on offer that those of them who work in the private sector could only dream of.

    "And they will rightly wonder why these union leaders are placing their own vested interests above the interests of the young people our education system is supposed to serve," he said.
  2. Great stuff! Things finally seem to be moving. The declaration should get others, NAHT, UCU, etc on board as well. Looking forward to the marches and demos.

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  3. I'm for it. Public ( peaceful) disobedience, especially by professional bodies,is good and healthy for democracies. The government are there at our behest- they should remember that!
    Unity is strength!
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  4. Jolly good! Damage the economy some more by making parents take the day off to look after kids. Deprive temporary workers with no holiday pay, pension, sick pay, training days and all the rest of a day's money as long as you're all right jack.

    Alternatively why not stike in your many weeks of holiday time. You know, the ones when you are "preparing lessons".
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  5. Well it can't be that difficult a job as everyone gets A* now anyway! Have they dumbed it down for the pupils or teachers?
  6. Right! So it's all down to the alleged bloody-mindedness of the teachers and not to the ruthless intransigence of the gobment that wants to unilaterally ram through policy and contract changes. Don't forget, not so long ago, there was a thread on ARRSE about making judges pay 1.28 percent of their pay towards their pensions. They were up in arms and declared the move illegal and unconstitutional. Why is that different for the teachers?

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  7. Idle sh1ts. Can't be sacked; more holiday than soft mick; can't do anything 'below them' like photocopying or covering exams; 'effing huge pension; 'effing long holidays; and obviously live in a protected bubble from where they can't see the economic conditions that apply to the rest of us.

    Why the f@ck should I work my tits off to be taxed to pay for their gold plated pension, when I can't afford my own?

    aggravated, very bloody aggravated - is this another of the great public sector "we had over 50%" support for the action, despite only <33% actually bloody voting???
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  8. I'd like to offer a reasoned and well argued response, but I'm guessing you read the Socialst Worker so it would be a wasted effort.
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  9. Because not a lot of people will notice if a Judge doesn't turn up for work. If a teacher, bus driver, train driver, underground driver & the like doesn't they can be directly removing the capacity to earn from other workers, many of whom get one hell of a lot less pay than the teacher does.

    Solidarity, Brothers!
  10. If your narrow-minded, bigoted statements in post number 7 are anything to go by, I think you're right.

  11. That's alright, Bugz, you stick by a bunch of white-collar workers who can't even be got rid of if they're fecking useless and who have TaCoS that many in society would dream of going on strike to preserve their own troughs.

    Never mind the kind of people I mention who could lose a fifth of their weekly income or more, hey those menial types don't have pensions to worry about paying into do they! Don't worry about the Nurses or Coppers who will have to take time off from healing the sick and defending the public.

    That's how your philosophy works, donesn't it. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others!
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  12. Is it better than Army pensions and don't teachers pay into a pension fund from their wages?

    What is the teachers' pension like?
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  13. Narrow minded and bigoted? Maybe: but the fruits of being married to a teacher who is harried into union membership and fights against their collective stupidity on a daily basis trying to do what is best for the education of the poor souls sent to her.

    She is one of the 67% who don't vote, and one of the >75% who don't want industrial action.

    Yes my stats are plucked, but I bet they're not far off after the last round of this nonsense.

    There are great teachers and they deserve to be well renumerated, but equally there are awful ones and they should be exposed to the same capacity for removal as the private sector enjoys. The union's spanish practices do the good a disservice and serve to perpetuate a system that is failing children. I don't expect you to agree, maybe your school is a beacon of brilliance (or an academy), but our experience is different.
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  14. How many soldiers do you see going on strike when our pension is downgraded, again?
  15. That's exactly the attitude that the gobment's looking for, Captain. Blame it on those who're striking because their pay and conditions will become much worse. They don't take decisions to strike lightly, you know. It's a measure of their desperation because the gobment resolutely refuses to negotiate with them.

    Anyway, you were talking about solidarity, so if the folks aren't working anyway, they can join the strike. Flesh out the picket lines, distribute leaflets, and in the winter get the braziers going and the tea on.

    By the way, I support all who are fighting to defend their work and pay conditions. That's why I'll be out at the Ratcliffe on Soar power station at six tomorrow morning to lend a hand with the construction workers' demo there.