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ACTION IN JANUARY? – A DANGEROUS DELAY


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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

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I received this from Martin today.

We can all read this stuff on your friend's blog - no need to copy it here.

A great deal more would be possible if there was one union for teachers. Unfortunately vested interests in the NUT and NASUWT will never allow this to happen. In the meantime ordinary teachers are left high and dry.

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Well yes it is my blog actually. My contribution to the campaign.

I think a blog is a good way of putting information out quickly with no knowledge of HTML.

It is a simple matter to say that we should have one union. If it were that simple we would have one union by now. The fact of the matter is that ATL and NASUWT are nothing more than "company unions". They are part of the government partnership these days. They are responsible for TLRs and for the appalling payment by results system enshrined in the new performance management procedures they endorse.

A lot of people in NASUWT and ATL are very dissatisfied with their leaders acting as enforcers for the government.

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