20 January 2013
This weekend the NUT called a reps’ briefing in London at short notice. The purpose
of the briefing was to explain the changes Gove and the coalition wish to make to our national terms and conditions. Gove plans to tear up our national pay rates, end national pay bargaining, and leave it up to each Head to determine pay rises on the basis of ‘performance’. They claim that by implementing these changes standards will be raised and good teachers will be rewarded. However we know that by ‘standards’ they mean tests. PRP would skew the way we teach in a way which would negatively impact on those that we are there for – the children . We also know that any move to performance related pay is about only one thing – cutting the pay budget for ALL teachers.
Activists were told that we had to get over 100 reps in the room if we wanted to prove there was an appetite for strike action. With many schools closing early on the Friday, we worried that the bad weather would affect the turnout. 100 chairs were set out in NUT HQ. Every seat was soon filled, more seats were found and over 50 people were standing at the back. People counted over 250 reps in the hall. After Christine Blower’s speech , there followed contributions from the floor , the latter receiving loud cheers and applause due to their unanimous call for urgent strike action , and for this action to be more than just 1 day. One primary school rep described the horrible pressure of teaching her class of 7 year olds, knowing that whether or not they grasped the lesson would determine her being able to meet rising rent costs.
The meeting ended with a show of hands for those who wanted the Executive to name the day for strike action when they meet next Thursday 24th Jan. The hall voted ‘yes’ overwhelmingly. One London exec member said we should strike on March 13th, as we would not be striking alone, we would be standing alongside all those workers, both public and private sector in Europe striking against austerity and cuts.
Sara Tomlinson Lambeth NUT joint secretary (pc) and Unite the Resistance steering committee @teachertomo
pic courtesy of @brixtonite