Thursday, 9 January 2014

Update on the Action Campaign


At the beginning of the year, I thought it would be worth giving an update of where we are at with the NASUWT/NUT joint action campaign. The background to the campaign is set out here in an article I wrote for Education for Tomorrow.



On 13th and 16th December 2013, the NUT attended meetings called by Michael Gove, alongside other teacher unions. At these meetings, the NUT and NASUWT explained that further talks would have to be about the direction of policy as well as its implementation to properly deal with the depth of teacher concern.

Mr Gove refused the call, by the other teacher unions present at the meetings, to meet directly with the unions in dispute, leading the TUC to write directly to him seeking a change of heart.

The meetings themselves did not reach substantive discussions, over and above the provocative and inappropriate presence of an insurance company who style themselves as the alternative to trade unions.

In response, the NUT has called a special Executive meeting for 16th January 2014 (next Thursday) which will take a decision on how to respond to the Secretary of State's failure to engage in genuine talks to resolve this dispute.  Between now and then, we will be holding discussions with NASUWT with the aim of developing a joint response.

In order to win this dispute, we need to have two key aims in mind:

  1. Issuing a strong response to Michael Gove's provocation - Only a strong response, including public campaigning, lobbying, membership mobilisation and industrial action, will put the necessary pressure on Gove to take teachers' concerns seriously.  This work cannot simply be left to the national Union but will involve every local association developing action and activity locally.
  2. Working to maintain and extend our united campaign with NASUWT - The reality is that teachers, like any other group of workers, are stronger together than we are divided.  The government has worked hard to try and drive a wedge between teachers and their democratic organisations.  Between NUT and NASUWT, we represent 90% of the teaching profession.  We must also actively pursue any opportunity to engage other teacher unions in our campaign.  We need this level of action if we are going to win.
At the special Executive next week, I will be approaching any decisions with these two key points in mind.

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