General Meeting 20th November 2014

posted 24 Nov 2014, 02:24 by general office

Nomination for Deputy General Secretary

Kevin Courtney was nominated

ITA National Conference Delegates

It was announced that Ken Muller, Tony Buttifint and Cat Tookey were elected unopposed as ITA Conference delegates. 

The meeting then elected Paul Atkin, Kiren Mirza and Malcolm Richards to fill the remaining vacancies.

  ITA Motion

Donation to Libraries for South Africa Project

This meeting notes :

1.       The lack of resources in terms of books in many disadvantaged schools in South Africa.

2.       The challenge to ensure access to books due to inadequate funding and high costs of books in South Africa

And recognising :

1.       The need to bridge the development divide along racial lines in a post-apartheid South Africa

2.       The aim to set up classroom libraries in primary schools to empower young readers.

Hereby resolve :

1.       To make a donation of £200 to assist in the building of classroom libraries in under resourced primary schools in South Africa.

Conference Motions

A.    Workload and accountability

NUT Conference welcomes the work the Union has done in putting teacher workload and accountability high on the political agenda in the pre-election period.

 

In particular Conference notes the results of the survey of members carried out in October 2014, which showed that:

i) large numbers of teachers are considering leaving the profession

ii)teachers identified excessive workload as impacting on their health and on their emotional and personal well being

iii)a key concern expressed by teachers was the lack of professional trust, which has led to            the proliferation of accountability measures that have no educational value but create huge stress.

 

Conference believes that it was consistent and determined campaigning and strike action by NUT members which forced the government to agree to a major consultation and review of teacher workload, and led to the publication of the “Ofsted clarifications”.

 

Conference notes that there are rising numbers of children entering the school system, and that there are already indications that teachers are leaving the profession at a time when they will be needed more than ever.

 

Conference believes that making teaching an attractive profession must be a priority for the next government and that part of this must be tackling excessive workload and accountability measures.

 

Conference believes that trust in teachers and a commitment to ongoing high-quality professional development must be at the heart of the education system.

 

Conference rejects calls from some quarters for a curriculum offer based on extensive use of worksheets, on line exercises and other activities that offer little challenge or scope for creativity.

 

Conference therefore endorse the NUT’s Action Programme to Reduce Teacher Workload and instructs the Executive to campaign publicly for the following measures to be adopted by the next government:

a)         an accountability system based on trust, respectful professional dialogue and    proportionality;

b)         an end to Performance Related Pay;

c)         a binding work-life balance policy for all schools;

d)         a reduction in teacher working hours;

 

B) Teachers’ Pensions – Continuing The Campaign

Conference believes that we cannot let the door be shut on the unfair and irresponsible destruction of a proper pension scheme for teachers. Younger teachers in particular have a completely unacceptable level of provision, which it remains our responsibility as a Union to put right.

Conference reaffirms its support for good quality, affordable, final salary occupational pensions in both the private and public sectors and a decent state pension. It deplores the way that private and public sector employers and the Government used the recession as an excuse to attack occupational pensions.

Conference congratulates all of those unions and their members, and in particular the Fire Brigades Union, for their resistance to the imposition of retirement ages that threaten the health and wellbeing of workers who attempt to work until they are reached.

Conference notes that April 2015 is the date at which the new, worsened teachers’ scheme comes fully into effect.

Conference instructs the Executive to approach a new Government to ask for the following:

An independent review of the appropriate retirement age for teachers that takes into account the demands of the job

Pension contributions and benefits that reflect the real costs of the scheme rather than ones intended to siphon off money for the Treasury

1. A restoration of the link of pensions in payment to an inflation index that measures the real increase in the cost of living

2. A requirement that supply teachers be given access to the pension scheme

 

Conference further instructs the Executive to

  1. Put the above proposals to all parties in the run-up to the General Election and report on their responses to our members
  2. Prepare for and ballot for a national campaign of strike and non-strike action, seeking the involvement of other teaching unions, and non-teaching unions where appropriate, if no progress is made in talks with the new Government on these issues
  3. Continue through our Stand Up For Education and other campaigns to emphasise the negative consequences for the education of children of a retirement age for teachers of 68 or more

 

C)   Racism, Migration and Islamophobia

 

Conference reaffirms policy adopted at Annual conference 2013 expressing the view that the Union “defends the rights of all children and their families, regardless of immigration status, to have access to social housing, welfare services and in particular the NHS, free at the point of need. Conference condemns the attempts by politicians to scapegoat immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees for the economic problems of Britain which are the result of ‘casino’ economics and a refusal to invest in public services, housing, health, education and social welfare.”

 

Conference notes:

1. The continuing rise in anti-migrant propaganda, which is being disseminated by much of the media, is based on myths that seek to lay the blame for national and local economic and social problems on migrants, rather than on the financial institutions and politicians who are bent on promoting austerity, tax cuts for the rich and privatisation of public services including the NHS.

2. The growth of UKIP, a party funded by millionaires, in local elections and especially in the most recent European elections, where they came first, winning 27.5% of the vote

4. That the rise in support for UKIP and its anti-migrant policies has been mirrored across Europe, and that mainstream parties in this country have failed to challenge these policies, leading to anti-migrant sentiments becoming widespread, and the legitimisation of racist and xenophobic attitudes

5. That UKIP's education policies threaten to undermine our vibrant, diverse multicultural education system as they seek to ramp up privatisation and reintroduce selective education and grammar schools. Their mantra of 'putting England first' threatens the support currently given to refugee and migrant children, to undermine EAL provision and to remove the human rights of the children of migrants.

7. That anti-immigrant and anti-muslim propaganda has been used to stir up racial hatred and islamophobia, for example around the issues of child abuse, and in the use of Ofsted to inspect schools suspected of promoting ‘extremism’

8. That as part of the ‘war on terror’ there is talk of dealing with “non-violent extremism”, of banning the airing of “extremist views” and the increased use of deportations and the removal of citizenship

 

Conference welcomes

1.     The publication by a number of TUC regions of a booklet laying out the facts on immigration

2.     The inauguration of the Stand Up To UKIP campaign and its successful, diverse and loud demonstration held at UKIP's conference in September, backed by a broad coalition of MPS, anti racists, community groups and trade unionists

3.     The welcome comments of leading members of the NUT in opposing the poisonous influence of UKIP.

4.     The continuing support given by the NUT nationally and locally to campaigning against organizations such as the BNP and the EDL

 

Conference instructs the Executive to:

1.         reaffirm the Union’s policy agreed at Annual Conference 2013  to support “campaigns against racism, Islamophobia and against those seeking to scapegoat immigrants” producing appropriate material for members to explain our policies;

2.         circulate the publication produced by a number of TUC regions which challenges the growing anti-migrant propaganda with an appropriate NUT introduction;

3.         challenge in the national press, whenever possible statements and policies which run counter to Union policies and encourage divisions, associations and members to do so locally;

4.         affiliate the Union to Stand Up to UKIP.

5.         encourage members to support local Stand Up To UKIP stalls which seek to challenge their electoral campaign in the run up to the general election and beyond, and expose their racist claims.

6.   encourage members to invite speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds into their schools to speak in assemblies, staff meetings and so on.

7.  continue to use our political fund to campaign against racist and fascist organizations in the run up to the general election

 

Aims of Stand Up to UKIP (Taken from launch statement)

The 2014 European Elections mark a watershed in British politics. UKIP is a right wing, racist, populist party which won over 27% of the vote; a staggering 4,352,051 people voted for them and they beat the three mainstream parties.

UKIP presents itself as an anti establishment party and its leader, Nigel Farage, claims to be ‘a man of the people’. This is a lie. UKIP wants to introduce a flat rate of income tax of 31 per cent that means those on the starting and basic rate, will face huge tax increases. UKIP’s deputy leader called for the privatisation of the NHS.

It has built up its electoral base by both presenting itself as a party opposed to the European Union, but more importantly by spreading poisonous lies and hatred towards migrants and Muslims.

We believe UKIP is a racist party. This may be something Farage and the party’s leadership is quick to deny. But in the run up to the European elections UKIP’s mask slipped. UKIP presents the anti-racist movement with a major problem – dragging British politics to the right.

UKIP is also a party of bigots, sexists, Islamophobes and homophobes. The rise of UKIP has parallels with other far right and fascist parties, which are growing across Europe. In France the fascist Front National gained the biggest overall vote in the French European Elections. The PVV in the Netherlands, another racist populist party, came third and in Hungary the fascist Jobbik party came second.

UKIP received disproportionate media coverage prior to the elections and any party that received this level of coverage would have benefited at the polls. Although UKIP received a high vote, 65 per cent of the population did not vote. The mainstream political parties must do more to engage these people and not chase the UKIP vote to avoid the danger of racism being normalised in British society.

Now is the time to make a stand against UKIP. The lesson of history is that we need unity against the far right and racism. Stand up to UKIP is an umbrella organization which believes women, trade unions, anti-racists, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh, other faith communities, LBGT, young people, students and all good people, must unite and stand up to UKIP, racism and bigotry.

 

 

 

D)   The economy

Conference notes that

    i) the concessions offered us in current negotiations on workload and in OFSTED guidelines are those which do not cost the treasury money

   ii) meeting our needs in relation to pay and pensions, as well as those of other workers, requires not simply concessions to us as a particular interest group but a change in government policy to put the economy at the service of the majority of people

   iii) austerity polices have derailed economic recovery in the UK and across Europe, postponed necessary investment in environmental sustainability and led to a nationalistic backlash that         threatens community cohesion.

Conference therefore calls on the next government to build an economic recovery based on

    a)state led investment in the infrastructure of sustainability, including education

    b)redistributive taxation

    c)pressure for similar policies across the EU on the lines of the German TUCs Marshal Plan for Europe

Conference instructs the executive to campaign for this alternative through and with other TUC affiliated unions.

E)   The general election

 

Conference notes:

1.That the NUT Stand up For Education manifesto has won wide support, but is not  backed by any of the parties most likely to form part of a new government after the 2015 general election.

2.That in particular hopes that an incoming Labour government would initiate significant change in policy, in education or on wider issues, away from the damaging policies of recent years have been shown to be baseless. Instead, Labour leaders have made clear they will maintain Tory spending policies and austerity.

3.Labour‟s education spokesperson, Tristram Hunt has made clear he would keep most of the disastrous education policies and initiatives pursued by the Con-Dem Coalition under education secretaries Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan. In particular, this would include: (i) the retention of the atomised performance related pay scheme imposed by Gove (i) the retention of the

academies‟ programme (iii) allow more free schools to be opened, though renamed as academies (iv) the continuation of disastrous education policies from the Early Years to the “reform‟ of GCSE

4.Further there is no plan to challenge the so-called “accountability” agenda - which is fundamentally about a lack of trust in teachers and which is the real driver of the unacceptable workload that is wrecking education and teachers‟ lives.

5.Our professionalism has been insulted by proposals to introduce a “teacher’s oath”.

Conference believes:

1. That we will have to continue the elements of our Stand up for Education, whoever forms the new government in May 2015.

2. That we will need to continue to engage with parents and the public pushing our case. We will need to continue to pressure politicians to win the vital changes we need.

3. That we will also have to continue to take the action, including significant national strike action, which has been vital in winning the gains such as the STRB refusing the  planned attack on national conditions and the sacking of Michael Gove - which we have achieved.

4. That there must be no move to scale back any element of this campaign in favour of some re-hash of the failed social partnership approach we saw under the last Labour government.

5. Thar we should continue to seek to coordinate our fight with the wider battle of the trade union and working class movement to resist austerity, and the attempts to divide us by scapegoating.

6. That the lesson of recent governments in France and in Denmark is that the need for such resistance remains urgent whoever is in office.

7 The tragic lesson of that experience is also that unless such resistance is mounted and is successful the continuation of austerity and scapegoating policies can simply fuel the growth of right wing and racist parties.

 

Conference instructs the National Executive:

1. To continue to organise during and beyond the general election around the “engage, pressure, action” approach and our Stand up for Education theme.

2. To reject any moves to scale back any element of this campaign in favour of some  promise of a “seat at the table” in some “social partnership” under an incoming government.

3. To say to whoever is in government after May 2015 that we will seek to win the  policies our union has outlined, including through calling further and escalating national strike action in order to do so.

4. To seek actively to coordinate our campaign and actions with the wider battle against austerity and scapegoating - in particular, seeking to coordinate protests and strike action with the widest possible group of trade unions.

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