Thursday, 16 July 2015

National Executive: General Secretary's Report

At today's NUT National Executive, Christine Blower reported on the NUT presence on the 250,000 strong People's Assembly march on June 20th. The TUC is now supporting People's Assembly events at the Tory party conference, including mass meetings on education, health, housing, etc. and a march on the Sunday.

Since the Executive away day, the office has been developing a comprehensive campaign report to respond to the latest attacks on state schools, facilities time, trade union rights and a the attacks on social rights and wages in the recent budget.

The Union is still engaging in the programme of talks with government, now referred to as the 'unions round table'. The NUT and other unions are pushing this on from discussion on the implementation of policy to discussions on policy itself. A joint position on pay has been agreed by the majority of unions, although the NASUWT has produced its own separate letter.

A number of working groups have been set up in the talks and there has been agreement between all unions except for NASUWT on who will sit on which groups. In the absence of cooperation from NASUWT, the other unions have agreed to leave spaces for them on working groups.

Christine went on to report on the success of the LGBT Teachers' Conference and the LGBT TUC conference.

She also welcomed the opportunity for NUT to host the Cuba Solidarity AGM at Hamilton House.

Christine then went on to describe the detail of the Trade Union Bill which will severely restrict the right of trade unionists to withdraw their labour. These include a time limit of 4 months on any action and a requirement to give employers 14 days notice of any action, as well as legally entitling the employer to use this time to arrange agency workers to undermine the strike.

If the Bill is passed unamended, laws on picketing will be changed to say that no more than 6 people will be legally allowed to gather near the site of a strike.

The Bill will also give reserved powers to the Secretary of State to introduce new rules and requirements on areas such as facilities time in the future without a further vote. The Bill suggests that this could include limiting facilities time for elected officials to 50% of their contract and/or to limit the total amount of facilities time an employer can give.

The Union will be responding to the consultation which closes on September 9th and will also be participating in TUC activities, including a major lobby in November.

The General Secretary closed by advising members to have a restful summer holiday to prepare for the serious work ahead of us to defeat these proposals.

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