Education unions

National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of University Teachers (AUT), National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) and other education unions

After June 16th – why we need to organise the rank and file

The NUT local associations conference meets on 16 June in Liverpool. This document was prepared as a contribution to the debate over organising rank and file school workers.

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Reviving action in universities

The congress of the University and College Union (UCU, 8-10 June) voted to resume industrial action over pension cuts for workers in “pre-1992” institutions.

A work-to-rule will be reinstated with immediate effect, and a sustained programme of industrial action in autumn will be worked out over the summer and decided upon at a special conference in September. Congress also voted to recognise that the suspension of the work-to-rule, carried at a pre-1992 conference in January, was a mistake.

The congress of the University and College Union voted to resume industrial action over pension cuts for workers in “pre-1992” institutions.

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Rank and file teachers' conference: a forum and a voice

The 16 June Local Associations conference of school teachers will discuss a statement from its organising committee resolving to “build a network of local associations and school reps that will enable teacher trade unionists to exchange information, debate and discuss strategy... and organise solidarity”.

Tom Unterrainer suggests why and how.

The Local Associations conference of school teachers will discuss a network of local associations and school reps to enable teacher trade unionists to exchange information, debate and discuss strategy.

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Rank-and file teachers organise

National Union of Teachers activists will meet in Liverpool on Saturday 16 June to found a new network based on local branches (divisions and associations) of the union.

The Local Associations for National Action conference is a rank-and-file initiative by teachers angry at the NUT leadership’s capitulation over the pensions fight.

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Website now up for 16 June school workers' conference

A website with details of registration, agenda, draft statement, and so on is now up for the school workers' conference on 16 June in Liverpool.

A website with details of registration, agenda, draft statement, and so on is now up for the school workers' conference on 16 June in Liverpool.

http://www.june16localassocconference.co.cc/.

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School strike wins in East London

Joint strikes of support staff and teachers, involving Unison and National Union of Teachers (NUT) members, at Central Foundation Girls School in East London, have forced school management to back down on plans for pay cuts and job losses, and have won victories on teachers’ workload, observations and sickness policy. Below, a trade union activist in the school explains how the battle was won.


From the moment that both Unison and NUT began their ballots, all meetings, bulletins and decisions were joint. No single action took place unless both unions were in it together.

Joint strikes of support staff and teachers involving Unison and National Union of Teachers members at Central Foundation Girls School in East London have forced school management to back down on plans for pay cuts and job losses, and won victories on teachers’ workload, observations and sickness policy.

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How solidarity won school cuts fight

New head teachers in a school always want to stamp their authority by making a few changes. The new head at Central Foundation Girls School, in Bow, East London, went a few steps too far.

Under her “leadership”, the sickness policy changed to trigger procedures against absentee staff after four days (previously eleven). Support staff became subject to a new evaluation process. Observations of teachers increased. Data entry went through the roof. Not surprisingly, morale hit rock bottom.

A strike over job losses, pay cuts and workload by teachers and support staff at a school in East London has ended in a victory for the workers.

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Tower Hamlets Class Struggle (education workers' bulletin) - Issue #5, May-June 2012, CFGS victory special

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. This special issue celebrates the successful strike against cuts at Central Foundation Girls' School. Click here to download the PDF.

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, celebrating the successful strike against cuts and job losses at Central Foundation Girls' School.

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School strike forces concessions

Picket lines at Central Foundation Girls School in east London, where workers are striking against job losses, pay cuts and increases to workload, were well attended on Friday 11 May (the most recent day of action).

The increasingly nervy and confrontational headteacher repeatedly threatened to call the police because there were more than six people on the picket.

The action has already forced the school management into concessions, and it has now conceded on both job losses and pay cuts, which primarily effected support staff (i.e. Unison members).

Picket lines at Central Foundation Girls School in east London, where workers are striking against job losses, pay cuts and increases to workload, were well attended on the most recent day of action.

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Industrial news in brief

The British Medical Association (BMA), the professional association for doctors, has begun balloting its 103,000 members for industrial action.

The BMA is opposed to increases in employee contributions to doctors’ pensions scheme, and the raising of the pension age from 65 to 68. Although the BMA has ruled out a full strike, a positive result in the ballot could see doctors refusing to perform any duties or procedures that could be safely postponed.

Doctors last took industrial action in 1975.


Justice for Dayna

BMA ballot; justice for Dayna; Hackney College jobs fight.

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NUT Exec votes down June strike date

NUT has voted not to strike again on pensions in this school year.

On Thursday 10 May the executive of the National Union of Teachers voted for a recommendation from general secretary Christine Blower and deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney: "That in the light of the responses to the survey of divisional secretaries and in the light of the positive work with the NASUWT the union should not proceed with a one day strike in June".

An amendment declaring that "the Executive resolves to comply with policy determined by [NUT] Conference 2012... the union will take strike action in June" fell, with 16 votes for, 24 against, 2 abstentions.

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Industrial news in brief

Forty-five workers at the Enterprise Distribution Centre, which unloads paper reels from incoming vessels at the Tilbury docks in Essex, struck on Monday 7 May, the first walkout at the docks since 1989.

The workers, who are members of Unite, are striking against the arbitrary imposition of new contracts which could see them lose up to £2,500.

Unite official Jane Jeffery said: “Members are annoyed at the complete lack of negotiation and consultation. Since the ballot for strike action, we have had no formal communication with the company.

Tilbury docks walkout; East London school strike; Remploy job losses; Tube Lines dispute.

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Relaunch the pensions fight!

On 10 May the PCS civil service union is striking against the government’s “work longer, pay more, get less” changes to public sector pensions.

The lecturers’ union UCU is also striking, in further education colleges and post-1992 universities. Members of the Unite union in the health service will be staging protests and industrial action.

There is talk of a further strike, maybe involving the teachers’ union NUT, in late June.

To make 10 May a relaunch, and not just a swansong, PCS needs to genuinely place itself on a “war footing”:

The pensions dispute is the first national clash of the public sector unions with a Tory-led coalition intent on making the working class pay for the financial crisis ripping through the capitalist world. If the unions win, the confidence of trade union members will grow. If the unions lose, the Tories will renew their attacks.

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Solidarity can win London schools fight

After the 24 April strike against pay cuts and restructuring at Central Foundation Girls School in East London, school management are showing signs of shifting. They have backtracked from cutting support staff pay this year.

This has only happened because of the united action taken by members of the NUT and Unison. But management still plan to cut pay next year.

CFGS workers plan another strike around 11 May.

After the 24 April strike against pay cuts and restructuring at Central Foundation Girls School in East London, school management are showing signs of shifting.

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Tower Hamlets Class Struggle (education workers' bulletin) - Issue #4, May 2012

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Click

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

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Sunderland College strike ballot; Greenwich libraries strike; new NUJ chapel in Wapping

Workers at Sunderland College will be balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay. According to the University and College Union, “The college intends to cut the salaries of more than 150 lecturers by £10,000 and downgrade 70% of its teaching workforce to inferior pay grades.” The ballot closes on Friday 18 May.


Nearly 100 workers employed across 13 libraries in Greenwich have launched a series of strikes to prevent the privatisation of their workplaces. Workers struck on 27, 28 and 30 April and are due to strike again on 1 and 11 May.

A round-up of trade-union and industrial news.

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NUT votes down new pensions strike

On 26 April the NUT Executive accepted recommendations from the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary not to call any further industrial action on pensions, at least for now.

On 26 April the NUT Executive accepted recommendations from the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary not to call any further industrial action on pensions, at least for now.

Left-wingers on the Exec were arguing for NUT to call a national strike on 10 May, along with PCS and sections of Unite, but the majority refused.

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Tower Hamlets Class Struggle (education workers' bulletin) - Issue #3, April 2012 (CFGS strike special)

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Click here to download PDF.

An industrial bulletin by and for education workers in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

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East London school workers strike against cuts

Teachers and support staff at Central Foundation Girls School in East London will strike on Wednesday 25 April as part of a battle to resist redundancies and pay cuts.

Teachers and support staff at a school in East London are striking as part of a battle to resist redundancies and pay cuts.

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Nottingham teachers fight five-term year plan

Nottingham teachers struck for a second day on 17 March in their campaign of industrial action against the Local Authority.

Inspired by Michael Gove's plans to change school holiday patterns, the Labour-controlled council has attempted to force through a change to a five term year in Nottingham city schools.

Implementation of the five term year will mean a shortening of the six week summer holiday to four weeks and a regular pattern of eight week terms.

Nottingham teachers struck for a second day on 17 March in their campaign of industrial action against changes to school holidays.

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“Edubusiness” vultures circle

This week owners and administrators of private capital will assemble in London to share ideas about how state education can be further opened up to their insurgency.

Education Investor magazine (yes, it does exist) is hosting a conference to bring together established edubusinesses such as Pearson (owners of the “awarding body” or exam board Edexcel), academy sponsors (including Balfour Beatty and ARK), and representatives of private equity companies, some of whom have given large amounts of money to Education Secretary Michael Gove in recent years.

Like the NHS, state education is set to become a target for privatisation.

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Strike on 10 May!

The National Executive of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has voted to strike on 10 May in the battle against government pensions reform.

Its decision follows the announcement of the health section of the Unite union to “aim for” a strike on that date. Unite now says its 100,000 NHS members will be “staging protests and industrial action” on that date. The Executive of the University and College Union (UCU) meets next week to decide on its participation. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) Executive also meets next week, and will discuss further action.

The PCS Exec has voted to strike on 10 May over pensions.

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NUT grassroots get organised as leadership moves to block pensions fightback

At the National Union of Teachers conference, in Torquay between 6 and 10 April, activists finally began to get organised to fight for rank-and-file control in the fight over pensions. The behaviour of the NUT leadership at the conference, and the official "left" that supports it, showed how much such a rank-and-file movement is needed.

The National Union of Teachers conference (6-10 April) saw conflict over how to continue the pensions battle - and possibly the beginnings of serious rank-and-file organisation in the union.

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AWL teachers bulletin for NUT conference 2012

AWL teachers bulletin for NUT conference 2012, discussing the pensions battle, campaigns on workload and pay, and more. Click here to download the bulletin as a PDF.

AWL teachers bulletin for NUT conference 2012, discussing the pensions battle, campaigns on workload and pay, and more.

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Teachers' pensions fight: next steps

Activists of the National Union of Teachers and the UCU in London have worked hard to get a good turn-out for the regional one-day strike on 28 March over the Government’s pension changes called by their union leaders after those leaders had overruled member surveys showing big majorities for a national strike.

It will be difficult to restart the pensions campaign now even with the best policy. But it is possible.

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Despite strong London strike, NUT leaders commit only to "review"

The teachers' (NUT) and lecturers' (UCU) strike in London on 28 March was strong, with a lively demonstration maybe 10,000 strong. Yet NUT Exec will ask its 6-10 April conference to commit it only to "reviewing" things.

The teachers' (NUT) and lecturers' (UCU) strike in London on 28 March was strong, with a lively demonstration maybe 10,000 strong. Yet NUT Exec will put a "priority motion" to its 6-10 April conference which commits it only to "reviewing" things and then maybe calling more action.



The 28 March demonstration was lively

The way NUT conferences work is that debate on the issue will be around amendments to this motion from the floor, and motions from local NUT branches will be effectively superseded.

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The teachers' pension campaign: a reckoning

As the Easter (6-10 April) conference of the National Union of Teachers approaches, Patrick Murphy draws the lessons from two years of campaigning against the Government's pension changes.

As the Easter (6-10 April) conference of the National Union of Teachers approaches, Patrick Murphy draws the lessons from two years of campaigning against the Government's pension changes.

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Teachers' union limits strike to London

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) Executive ignored the views of a huge majority of members (as expressed in an internal survey) and decided not to proceed with a further national strike on pensions on 28 March.

Despite a 73.4% yes to strike action, the majority on the Executive decided that there was insufficient support for continuing action. 15 NEC members pushed a vote to proceed with the action but they were opposed by 24 members, including a significant number who would regard themselves as being on the left of the union.

The National Union of Teachers Executive ignored the views of a huge majority of members and decided not to proceed with a further national strike on pensions on 28 March.

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Pensions: time for a reckoning

To turn round the public sector pensions campaign now will need not much less than a miracle.

Activists will work for that near-miracle: to make the London strike by teachers and lecturers on 28 March so strong that it bounces the National Union of Teachers (NUT), at its 6-10 April conference, into organising an escalating series of regional strikes, and forces the leaders of the PCS civil service union, at last, after three months of prevarication, into calling strikes.

To turn round the public sector pensions campaign now will need not much less than a miracle.

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