I urge ALL members to support the action and not report to work on Thursday 10th July. The union can only be successful in holding the Government to account if members support the position the union is taking.
On Thursday 10th July we will be joined by Unison, Unite, GMB, PCS and FBU. That is almost 2 million trade union members who will stand up for their conditions of service. I feel we have a moral obligation to join our colleagues in other unions and support the action.
Over the weekend the Government announced that it will be at least 4 years before public sector wages come close to being in line with inflation. That is a further 4 years, at least, of deflated wages for every one of us. The Government also said that it will look to further restrict union trade union activity and make it much more difficult for unions to take industrial action. If we do not act now they will take away our right to act. It’s that simple.
I know that it seems that we have been taking a lot of strike action over the past 4 years. We have, but this is in the face of an unprecedented attack from the Government. In real terms our wage has been devalued by 15.4% over the last 4 years. Without our action it would have been much worse.
What have we won?
The November 2012 strike clawed back 8% of the pensions contributions that the Government wanted to take from us
The November 2013 strike secured the right for teachers over the age of 50 (at the time of the strike) to retire at 60
The Autumn 2013 regional strikes put pressure on Michael Gove to accept the STRB proposals to protect teachers’ working conditions (remember he wanted to end the summer holidays, end non-cover, end non-invigilation and much
The March 2014 strike forced the Government to advise schools not to seek bureaucratic paperwork in support of pay progression.
I have not yet heard of one single teacher who has broken strike action but has refused to accept the benefits gained by those who have taken strike action.
I’d like to dispel a couple of myths. Firstly, I’ve had members who have recently changed unions because they say that most of the colleagues in their department are with another union. The union make up of your individual department should have no influence at all. It is never the case that a ‘department’ would take strike action alone. It is the membership of the school that decides on localised strike action. Secondly members have raised concerns that the NASUWT and ATL are not joining the strike action. It is for the leadership of those unions to decide whether they are willing to stand up to the
Government and secure the best deal for teachers. Christine Blower and Kevin Courtney have been firm in their stance that unless the Government begin to negotiate with the NUT we have little option but to take strike action. To give a very clear analogy; the RMT union are very successful winning the majority of issues over which they take strike action. Their sister union, ASLEF, has been less involved in strike action. The RMT win because when they strike the overwhelming majority of their members join the action. As the late great Bob Crow used to say ‘You don’t win every fight you take part in, but you do lose every fight you don’t take part in.’
Once again, I urge all members to stand united on Thursday, don’t worry about what the other unions are NOT doing, rather support your colleagues in the NUT who are taking strike action to stand up for education and stand up for teachers.