General Meeting 2/3/2011

posted 10 Mar 2011, 08:06 by general office

 Conference amendments

Motion 20      Cuts

After conference note add new point 6. and renumber:

In the last few months councils across England and Wales have announced huge cuts to jobs and services and that equally savage cuts are planned next spring.

Add extra paragraphs to Conference believes that:

That cuts on the scale already seen will devastate public services across Britain, and seriously undermine the welfare state.

 Trade unions should be central to campaigns not just to defend jobs, and oppose compulsory redundancies, but also to protect services. 

The national union should have a strategic aim of campaigning among the membership for the widest possible resistance to those further cuts, including support for demonstrations and strike action.

Add new points after “Conference instructs the executive to”:

(vi) encourage local associations to play a full and active part in local anti-cuts campaigns;

 (vii) continue to support initiatives by the various national organisations that have developed campaigns over cuts in public services – including but not exclusively: Keep NHS Public;Defend Council Housing; People’s Charter, Right to Work, Coalition of Resistance; National Shops Stewards Network – while recognising that the merits of and degree of support given to each particular initiative will have to be judged by the national executive.

 (viii) support calls for demonstrations at this year’s Tory and Liberal Democrat conferences and work with others to ensure the broadest possible backing for and mobilisation for such protests;

 

(ix)campaign within our own Union, the trade union movement and the TUC for the coordination of the widest possible strike action to stop the government destruction of public services.

 

 

Motion 35          Academies and free schools

Add new points after ‘Conference notes that’

6.   The publication of Lord Hill’s letter of December 2010 illustrates that the purpose of academies is to undermine national pay and conditions.

7. The Free schools programme will undermine the role of local education authorities in planning future provision.

8. Many school groups and divisions have successfully opposed conversion to academy status.

 

After  ‘Conference believes that’

ii) add: ‘and national pay & conditions’

v) insert after ‘created...’: ‘diverts capital and revenue funding away from other local schools and...’

Add new points;

vi)         The consultation process set out in the Academies Act is effectively meaningless and possibly unlawful as it can be conducted after the decision is made to convert to academy status.

viii) That TUPE arrangements do not constitute effective protection when converting to academy status as employers can re-organise staffing structures immediately after conversion.

 

Amend “Conference agrees to” to “Conference instructs the Executive to”:

Add new point b and re-letter:

b)   ‘Urge all school unions groups to meet and pass the Union’s model motion opposing conversion to academy status.

c)   Addsignificant, additional’ before ‘financial...’ and add at the end ‘ and to encourage local divisions to make significant annual donations to the AAA’.

d)   add at end “seek to co-ordinate any action where groups of schools are seeking conversion.”

Add further new points:

g) Write to the government seeking (i) a withdrawal of Lord Hill’s letter (ii) a change in the consultation process set out in the Academies act, so consultation must happen before any decision and (iii) substantive guarantees that national pay and conditions will be retained for all teachers;

h) declare a dispute with the government if no satisfactory response is forthcoming;

i) develop campaigning initiatives aimed at highlighting the threat to pay and conditions to our members seeking to involve them in the campaign;

j) consider a ballot for strike action in defence of national pay and conditions as part of this campaign;

k) consider legal challenges to the process of academy conversion over issues such as the timing, breadth and scope of consultation; accuracy of information provided and the failure to do adequate Equality Impact Assessments prior to conversion;

l) seek the broadest possible support from other unions for these initiatives.

 

Motion 34      Curriculum and the standards agenda

Delete  paragraph  2   and replace with:

Conference recognises that many of the policies outlined in the Coalition’s White Paper, The Importance of Teaching will not, as claimed, increase the influence of teachers over the curriculum, but  only widen divisions amongst learners as well as reducing their opportunities.

Conference is concerned in particular at government attempts to:

1)            Remodel  secondary education around   a ‘grammar school’ ethos.

2)            Prioritise the value and Importance of some subjects above others through introducing the English Baccalaureate and by using derogatory labels like ‘soft’ and ‘hard’.

3)            Reduce the status of vocational learning still further.

4)            Focus excessively on the importance of phonics in primary schools, at the expense of a balanced approach to the teaching of reading

5)            Emphasise the significance of ‘British’ history at the expense of all other.

Add new paragraph and renumber subsequently:

Conference condemns proposed changes to teacher training as ill thought out, and an insult to teacher professionalism, and to our colleagues in UCU who are responsible for teacher education. They are reliant on a view of teachers as ‘practitioners’ who have no need to have a wider view of pedagogy, or the education system, but can train ‘on the job’. In addition, they will add to the pressures on teachers in school, who will be expected to support prospective teachers in addition to their usual workload.

Conference further notes that the most successful education systems in the world, such as in Finland, value teacher education.

Add to ii which reflects the diverse world in which we live".

Add new points f, g and h in Conference instructs the executive to:

f.          Publicly oppose the government’s proposals for teacher training, and draw attention to the practice in successful education systems of educating teachers extensively;

g.         Support teachers in refusing to undertake additional duties connected with teacher training;

h.         "consult with union advisory groups about ways to invigorate the curriculum".

 

 

 

Motion 38      The class of 2011

Add new paragraphs:

Conference is alarmed  that  youth unemployment continues to rise  and that there could be 1 million young people seeking work by  the end of the  summer;  with many more having given up and being classified as  ‘economically inactive’. Conference is extremely concerned that even more young people hoping to attend university this year will be disappointed.

Conference condemns the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance, and the raising of tuition fees to £9000 and the accompanying cuts in university funding.  Conference recognises that this will lead to further inequalities in access and also to the reduction of courses and even the closure of some universities. 

Conference notes the mass opposition of large numbers of students to increases in fees, cuts and the abolition of EMAs, and congratulates those school, college and university students who took part in protests against government policy.

Conference calls upon the national union to support young people in their campaigning for a better education.

 

Motion 41 Education Special Needs

Add new paragraph 2 and renumber accordingly:

Conference notes that cuts already undertaken by local authorities and schools have over-whelmingly hit provision for SEN, both centrally and in schools, and this is having a negative effect on students who are losing support they previously enjoyed.

Add new point e:

e. Investigate how action to protect jobs and services in Inclusive education and SEN can involve all serving members in an LEA, so as to build more effective action

 

Motion 47      The challenge of Islamophobia

Add new  paragraphs:

Conference reaffirms our commitment to our multiculturalism and the respect and solidarity it is built on a cause for pride, and reaffirms our commitment to protecting and celebrating multiculturalism in our schools .

Conference condemns David Cameron’s statement made on the 5th February 2011 attacking multicultural society as a failure. His comments were a clear escalation of Islamophobic rhetoric, and parallel similar attempts to whip up Islamophobia and attack multiculturalism by French president Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel.

Conference believes that in all these cases the aim is to use racism to divide and weaken opposition to austerity measures and have had the effect of strengthening organised racist and fascist forces.

Conference further notes that the EDL and other racist and fascist organizations have welcomed David Cameron’s comments

Amend point b to read:

b)         Support a joint NUT/UCU conference on Tackling Islamophobia and developing      multicultural and anti-racist approaches to the curriculum.

 

 

General motions

 

Motion on pensions

 

ITA

 

1. Welcomes the announcement by the NUT of a definite timetable for a strike ballot on defending our pensions - with the ballot to be launched at the NUT Easter conference and the first strike action next term.

 

2. Welcomes the fact that this ballot will be for discontinuous action, as we believe more than a one day strike will be needed to win the pensions battle.

 

3. Welcomes the fact that discussions are taking place to see if we can secure agreement with the ATL and NASUWT to also announce strike ballots on pensions on the same timetable at their respective Easter conferences.

 

4. Believes that such united action by the main teaching unions could have an enormous impact - and could also pressure other unions to move towards strike action in defence of pensions.

 

5. Further believes however that we cannot afford to delay beginning the pensions battle any further, and that the desire for unity with other teaching unions cannot be allowed to push beyond our conference the announcement of a ballot.

 

6. Believes that there have already been enough delays, at a time when the government attacks on pensions are now beginning to come into effect - such as the change in indexation from the RPI measure of inflation to the CPI measure, which will cost our members, and many others, thousands of pounds over their retirement.

 

7. Therefore agrees to send a copy of this motion to the general secretary and ask for it to be copied to all executive members, to make our views clear to them.

 

8. We believe that a successful strike will require the prospect of massive united action and for our part that will require our association to set up as many school based meetings on this issue as possible between now and the end of the ballot and that this must be a priority for the association officers.

 

 

Cuts in Islington

 

ITA:

 

·         Fully supports existing Association policy of being willing to take borough-wide action in the event of any teacher in the borough being threatened with compulsory redundancy.

·         Calls upon the National Union to ballot members in Islington for discontinuous strike action if the Council refuses to give a guarantee that no teacher will face compulsory redundancy.

 

We also agree to campaign against cuts and redundanvies with support staff colleagues.

 

 

FE Cuts

This group deplores the coalition governments attacks on public services including the cuts which they are imposing on education.

As well as the devastation of the HE sector, the cuts in FE will mean that no adults on income support will be entitled to free education (e.g. women with children under 7, people with disabilities).

Despite purporting to be protecting the education of 16-19 year olds, very damaging cuts are being made in this area as well. The increases in tuition fees, cuts to EMA and the 70% cut in entitlement support funding is a huge assault on state education, in particular of working class children, which needs to be resisted.

 

        1. We therefore call upon the national union to launch a vigorous, high profile campaign of action against increases in tuition fees, cuts to EMA and the cut in entitlement support funding.

 

        1. We encourage the NUT to actively promote an alternative to the cuts agenda.
        2. We also resolve to resist the impact of the cuts on the education of students and the working conditions of teachers by agreeing a position of
        • No compulsory redundancies
        • No increase in contact time above 22.5 hours per week

We will also campaign against any change that has a deleterious effect on student education or workload.

        1. In addition, we agree to support our colleagues in Unison in defending provision to young people and job security including careers, libraries and the admin support which enables us to do our job.
        2. We also agree to support the TUC anti-cuts demonstration on 26th March and to take the Sixth Form College banner.
        3. We call for a whole college cross union meeting to discuss the cuts and to campaign with UCU and Unison against cross college cuts.. 


Multiculturalism

 

Islington NUT supports the following statement from Unite Against Fascism:

We agree to sign it as a branch and circulate it to our Reps and other interested parties to build maximum support for it.

 

We believe David Cameron’s statement that multiculturalism has failed was a dangerous declaration of intent. David Cameron's speech was reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s infamous 1978 statement that Britain was “being swamped by alien cultures”. He has branded Britain’s Muslims as the new “enemy within” in the same way as Thatcher attacked the miners and trade unions.

David Cameron is attempting to drive a wedge between different communities by linking Britain’s multicultural society with terrorism and national security. David Cameron’s speech was made on the same day as the English Defence League brought its bigotry and violence to the streets of Luton. Mr Cameron’s aim is simple as it is crude - to deflect the anger against his government’s cuts from the bankers and onto the Muslim community. The prime minister is aping attacks by other European leaders like France's Nicolas Sarkozy, who passed legislation banning the veil, and Angela Merkel, who has also made statements denouncing multiculturalism in Germany.

We the undersigned believe that our multicultural society and the respect and solidarity it is built on is a cause for pride, and reject any moves by this government to undermine and destroy it.

We must not allow this coalition government to turn the tide back to the days when it was acceptable, through ignorance and fear, for people with a different religion, culture or skin colour to be scapegoated and treated as inferior or outsiders.

 

Egypt

 Islington NUT welcomes the movements for democracy in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world.

 

We note

 

  • The unity in action between people of different generations, genders, faiths
  • The extraordinary courage of people who had lost their fear of death, defied intimidation by the Police and paramilitary thugs supporting the old regime and neutralised the army so that a massacre could not take place
  • The widespread self organisation of neighbourhoods and networks
  • that these movements are being driven not simply by accumulated frustration at decades of dictatorship: but also economic pressure on everyone’s living standards, rising prices for food, the difficulty for many young people to find jobs with youth unemployment ranging from 25% in Egypt to 45% in Algeria and that this pressure will continue and increase
  • that the fall of Mubarak sets the stage for a continuing confrontation between a self enfranchised mass movement, with free trade unions breaking loose from the old official regime unions, women’s movements and a wide range of civil organisations on one side and the continuing government, staffed by Mubarak’s appointees, backed by the army and the United States to “manage” the transition by keeping as much continuity as possible with the previous status quo, on the other.
  • That there is a parallel struggle going on in Tunisia

 

We resolve to support rallies, events, demonstrations called to support these struggles in the months ahead and circulate material about them to our Reps and other interested parties

We further endorse the statement below by the Stop the War coalition on the revolt in Libya.
 

Stop the War statement on Middle East revolutions

There must be no US or British intervention in Libya: the future of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen must be determined by the people of those countries alone.

 

The uprisings sweeping the Middle East deserve the support of all progressive people. They are directed against autocracies which have denied their people basic rights and the possibility of a decent life.

 

These autocracies have also, for the most part, depended on the self-interested support of the big powers, the USA and Britain first of all. Western governments have prioritised cheap oil, arms sales and support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians above the rights of the Arab peoples.

 

The response of the British government to the events of the last month exemplifies this hypocrisy. David Cameron has prioritised arms sales to the region. And the clamour to intervene in Libya has more to do with control of that country’s oil resources than with support for Libya’s people.

 

The Conservative-Liberal Coalition has followed Tony Blair’s lead in seeing the Middle East entirely through the prism of the interests of BP and British Aerospace. Any British intervention in the region would be directed to furthering those interests, not the freedom or democracy which can only present a challenge to western domination of the region.

Stop the War Coalition is clear that there must be no US or British intervention in Libya or anywhere else in the Middle East under any pretext whatsoever. Such interference over the last century is the root of the region’s troubles, and its continuation will solve none of the difficulties there.

 

The future of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and all the other states facing popular uprisings must be determined by the people of those countries alone. Solidarity with those fighting for their democratic and national freedom is our obligation.

 

We can best discharge it by demanding that the government at long last takes its hands off the Middle East and its people, leaving them to settle accounts with their own rulers

 

 

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