Education unions

Stop Academies in Lewisham

On Thursday 12 February, Governors of the three schools in the Prendergast/Leathersellers Federation, in Lewisham, voted to press on with plans to turn their schools into academies.

This despite the fact they have carried out no meaningful consultation with the parents, students or the staff at the schools.

Fortunately teachers in the schools did not wait until for this decision to start a fight against the proposals.

Governors of three schools in Lewisham have voted voted to press on with plans to turn their schools into academies.

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Hope, not strike?

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Liam Conway

On January 29, National Union of Teachers (NUT) National Executive voted 24 to 12 not to call two days of strike action in the run up to the General Election.

In October a survey of members returned 80% in favour of strikes. This despite the failure of the NUT to develop a serious strategy to wring concessions from the Government over pensions, and then pay, since 2011.

On January 29, the National Union of Teachers executive voted 24 to 12 not to call two days of strike action in the run up to the General Election.

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Schools for students, not for markets

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Editorial

For the Tories, education is about training children and young people to follow instructions and to jump through stereotyped hoops, and grading them accordingly.

That approach works poorly even to develop job skills, and very poorly to help young people become confident, cooperative, practically-competent, informed, critically-minded, imaginative thinkers.

The teachers' unions and the whole labour movement should campaign for the reorganisation of education on democratic, accountable, emancipatory lines.

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Industrial news in brief

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Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Ollie Moore and Peggy Carter

Teachers at Merrill Academy, Derbyshire, have been on strike for six days through January in a dispute over unattainable appraisal targets and denial of pay progression.

Both teaching unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, are taking part in the strike and have been staging daily picket lines. However picket lines were suspended on January 29 after drivers, believed to be a non-striking members of staff, drove aggressively at pickets over several days, leading to a striker and a student being hit by a car.

Teachers strike in Derbyshire; pregnant university cleaner sacked; Tube drivers ballot for strikes; M25 workers strike; National Gallery strike; London bus drivers strike for fair pay.

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Industrial news in brief

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Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

On Tuesday the 13 January the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) branch of the PCS union voted by an overwhelming majority to call strikes over pay.

The ICO has been lagging behind civil service pay for some time, with members’ salaries a grade behind what the rest of the civil service receive.

Information Commissioner’s Office staff vote to strike over pay; Woolwich hospital workers continue dispute; Lewisham teachers' ballot against Academies; NUT DGS result; Lambeth College deal; No to outsourcing at National Gallery.

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Industrial news in brief

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Peggy Carter, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Darren Bedford

As Solidarity went to press on 20 January, health unions were meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The NHS pay dispute is escalating. It started timidly with two days of four-hour strikes. But now there will be a 12 hour strike on 29 January, followed by a 24 hour strike on 25 February involving most of the unions in the NHS.

There were problems with the two four hour strikes. In some areas unions scuppered their own action by granting lavish “exemptions”, encouraging many members to go to work.

Health unions meet Government; new offer at Lambeth College; Brighton hospital workers balloted; Barnet care workers to strike; Essex firefighters strikes solid despite lockout.

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Vote Patrick Murphy in NUT election

According to an National Union of Teachers (NUT) survey, 30% of teachers have been denied pay progression this year under new performance related pay rules brought in from September 2013.

The survey also found that denial of pay progression was higher in primary schools that in secondary schools, and was higher for black and minority ethnic teachers. 90% of those denied progression reported that there was no indication in the year that this was a possibility.

Workers’ Liberty member Patrick Murphy is standing in the NUT Deputy General Secretary election on the basis of a strike strategy for the union which doesn’t delay and leave gaps between strikes and which names dates in advance, and involving members in deciding the future of the dispute.

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Industrial news in brief

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Gemma Short, Darren Bedford, Gerry Bates, Charlotte Zalens and Micheál McEoin

As Solidarity went to press on 13 January, bus drivers across London were staging a 24 hour strike in a bid to level up pay across the capital.

London’s bus network is outsourced to 18 different companies. Each one of these companies has their own pay scales and the union Unite must separately negotiate pay with all 18 companies. As a result pay differs by up to £3 an hour across the capital for drivers doing the same work. Unite is calling for a London wide pay scale.

London bus drivers. Essex firefighters, clothing workers and college staff strike; Haringey council cuts; sacked rep reinstated.

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Elect Pat Murphy as NUT deputy general secretary

Patrick Murphy, a founder of the schools activist network Lanac, a socialist, and a member of Workers' Liberty, is running for deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers. The ballot will be between 5 and 28 January.

Workers' Liberty member Patrick Murphy is standing for Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, in a ballot running from 6-26 January.

Patrick is standing for a radically different vision of how the union should be run, one where the union is controlled from the workplace. He is calling for workplace branches to form part of the NUT structure, and for one union for all school workers.

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Teachers: cut the hours!

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A London teacher

Nicky Morgan replaced Michael Gove as education minister in July. Tory prime minister David Cameron wanted her to continue Gove's drive for academies and free schools, but smooth the sharp edges and win back some of the Tories' lost support among teachers and others concerned with schooling.

She asked teachers for ideas on easing workload, in a survey which closed on 21 November, and says she will announce plans in the New Year.

Some schools put heavy pressure on teachers to be on site between 7.30 am and 6 pm; and, unlike in other countries, there is no set limit on classroom hours.

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