General Meeting 15th January 2013

posted 24 Jan 2013, 06:41 by general office   [ updated 24 Jan 2013, 06:43 ]

   1)  Resisting Gove’s ‘war’ on  teachers, 

 Islington NUT reaffirms its commitment to resist Michael Gove’s ‘war’ on teachers’ pay, conditions and pensions and the Coalition governments drive to dismantle and privatise state education by means of its accelerated academies and free schools programme and now Ebacc.

We recognise that Gove’s plan to break up teachers national pay arrangements and leave it to individual headteachers to determine teachers’ pay – at the same time as freezing pay rises below inflation - threatens to create a charter for bullying heads, to seriously weaken the ability of teacher trade unions to defend their members, to cut back teachers living standards, jeopardise career progression, especially of young teachers, and to discriminate women who take career breaks to have children and lose the right to ‘portable’ pay points.

We welcome the success of joint NUT/NASUWT Action Short of Strike Action in protecting and improving teachers working conditions and professional autonomy in many schools, but recognise that ASOSA, on its own, falls far too short of a strategy to defeat Gove.

Islington NUT reaffirms its view, expressed overwhelmingly at previous UGMs, that only national strike action can be successful in resisting Gove’s attacks and defending our unions.

We welcome the proposal likely to be considered at next week’s National Executive meeting, that the union should call a national one day strike this term, possibly on 13 March.

We recognise, however, that a one day strike will need to be quickly escalated to a programme of hard-hitting strike action which can cause a political crisis for the Coalition and hit private sector employers economically as parents have to stay at home to care for their children.

We believe such action will not only hit the Coalition hard but will also allow us to mobilise the support and solidarity of parents and the trade union movement as a whole. Other workers under attack – civil servants, fire-fighters, health workers – will have a battle to join.

Just like the Chicago teachers last year, by rallying parents and other trade unionists we can win.

Islington NUT resolves to turn a strike call from the national union in to effective action in the borough. Seize the time.


 2)  Performance Related Pay.

 Islington NUT recognises that Gove’s PRP proposals, together with the pay freeze, are the most serious attack on our pay for many years.

His aim is to reduce the overall pay bill by undermining pay progression and the effect will

  •          squeeze living standards, especially of young teachers
  •          be divisive and undermine team work
  •          give the green light to the kind of head that bullies their staff
  •          depress performance from colleagues who feel less valued with accompanying increases in stress
  •          depress student results (see PISA report*)
  •          lead to increased divisiveness between teachers and schools (as some heads may seek to “poach” teachers)

*PRP systems only have a positive impact on student results when teachers are paid below average for their society: and would have a negative impact at the salary levels currently paid in the UK (PISA Report)

We believe that

  •          Gove is moving fast because he is running out of time.
  •          the government’s economic policy is failing to cut the deficit or relaunch growth
  •          an economic policy based on state directed investment is necessary to do both but this is a minority position even in the labour movement.
  •          pay is being held back in the entire public sector and that fear of unemployment has held back wage growth in the private sector too.
  •          with rapidly rising food and energy prices everyone is being squeezed.
  •          at present we are in a defensive position in which our task is to defend as much as we can while strengthening the union.
  •          That past experience of recessions is that people put up with downward pressure on wages so long as they can hold on to their jobs but that this can change dramatically when economic conditions begin to improve and years of pent up frustration fuels a wave of action.

We therefore call on our executive to
  •        for a campaign to link the threat to our pay with the pay squeeze on everyone else to make it clear to parents, other unions and the general public we are not just in some sectional dispute.
  •          To lobby the Labour Party to try to get them to oppose these proposals and pledge to repeal them
  •          Support and apply whatever pressure we can put on NASUWT to co-ordinate with us and build towards national strike action.
  •          To produce a model policy for use in local authorities and in schools that commits them to retain the existing pay scale (and for appraisal to be considered successful for all colleagues not on capability).
  •          To sanction ballots for sustained strike action in any schools that plan to scrap the pay scale or withhold pay progression so we can isolate as many of the bullies as we can.
  •          To name and shame schools where we can’t get such action to stick and for each division to publish good and bad practice on their web sites for when colleagues are applying for jobs.

    3)      Prioritisation of motions to NUT national conference.

·         3.            Workload

·         25.          Primary curriculum

·         27.          Child poverty

·         46.          The crisis in education

·         48.          Reforming KS4

·         66.          Building a unionised teaching workforce in new circumstances

       4).     16-19  Funding

 ITA is shocked at the attack on 16-19 education contained in the governments new funding formula. The new funding affects all schools and colleges offering post 16 education and massively reduces the number of hours per student per year being funded. The government is cutting the maximum number of hours funded per qualification by over 100 hours from 702 to 600 per year which will make it very difficult for colleges to offer the kind of rounded programmes currently being studied. This means that students in the state sector will be massively disadvantaged compared to students from public schools when it comes to applying for Higher Education courses and will receive far less support in their learning during their 16-19 studies. The funding cuts will also lead to an intensification of the work of teachers – meaning that they have less time and energy to help students and teach well – and are also likely to result in job cuts.


We therefore call on the national union to launch a vigorous, high profile campaign against these cuts which will involve


·         Contacting NUT members and reps in secondary schools to make them aware of this cut so that 6th forms, FE colleges and schools can campaign together

·         Carry out an awareness raising amongst MP’s who may not know about this assault on the education of young people

·         Producing publicity materials for use in schools and colleges and with the parents of prospective students

·         Approaching other teacher unions to ask them to join with us in opposing these cuts.