Derek McMillan Posted July 10, 2007 Share Posted July 10, 2007 I received this from Martin today. Our Union correctly challenged Alan Johnson to “honour” the commitment to review our 2006 and 2007 pay awards if inflation went over the 3.25% “trigger”. He refused and then made clear we could expect 2% up until 2011 to boot ! The Government had called the NUT’s bluff and waited to see how we responded. The Union promised a “robust response” but June’s NUT Executive put off a decision on a national ballot timetable until July. But now we have been told what the General Secretary is proposing that timetable should be - to wait until JANUARY 2008 before we take action ! This delay will only confirm fears that the Union is failing to grasp the nettle and call the national action agreed unanimously back at the Easter Conference. The supposed ‘unity’ at the June Executive to commit to a ballot for action “in the Autumn Term” can now be seen as a way to gloss over two very different approaches to action. Steve Sinnott’s proposal is to delay a ballot until December, after the Review Body reports in early November, and hope to then get the NASUWT aboard for joint action in the New Year. But that delay risks losing the momentum that is building up, frustrating members who are ready to support action now and, most of all, prevents us from linking up with unions that are really serious about taking national action in the Autumn like the PCS. Why wait for the Review Body to confirm 2% or thereabouts? The right approach, as I have been arguing for in my campaign, is to hold a ballot in September, before the Review Body reports. This is the only way to protest against the failure to honour the “trigger” and to apply real pressure to the Review Body to meet our demands for a 10% pay rise and for the end of performance pay. An early ballot would also help us coordinate action with other public sector unions and apply the same kind of pressure that persuaded the Government to retreat over pensions. It would also be the best way of pushing the NASUWT into action. A united public sector strike would be a huge confidence boost for trade unionists and a blow to Gordon Brown’s prestige. Of course, that could be the very reason why some union leaders are holding back. Unfortunately, some people have accused me of exaggerating differences over the pay ballot timetable simply for ‘electioneering’ purposes. But the differences are very real - and too important for the future of teachers’ salaries to simply wish away. As I have said before on this blog, nothing would have pleased me more than to be proved wrong and for the Union to agree on an early ballot after all. Unfortunately, members’ fears that the Union is “dithering” will only be strengthened if the July 18th Executive meeting votes to delay action until the New Year. A delayed ballot will be a setback. NUT Divisions will have to find ways to maintain the campaign throughout the Autumn Term such as organising joint rallies with other public sector unions. A national demonstration against the pay freeze, as the PCS are proposing to the TUC in September, would help sustain the momentum. But when Linda Taaffe suggested this at the June NUT Executive she could hardly find any other support! One thing is clear – that this Union needs a fighting leadership. That’s why I am challenging to be Vice-President. I hope my campaign can encourage classroom teachers, reps and local officers to get organised to build a Union locally and nationally that is ready and willing to stand up firmly for teachers and education. Martin Powell-Davies The blog for the campaign in electmartin.blogspot.com The website is http://martin4vp.info Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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