General Meeting 7th October 2015

posted 8 Oct 2015, 04:22 by general office   [ updated 20 Oct 2015, 15:21 ]

A)      Supply Teachers   


Islington NUT gives its support to the NUT Teachers Supply Network

It notes:

1.       That supply teachers are on the receiving end of relentless poor publicity and negative judgement from the national media.

2.       That the majority of supply teachers are employed by private agencies and are paid well below the Teachers' Pay Scale and are not allowed into the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

3.       That supply teachers are increasingly employed on long term contracts with no access to sick pay, maternity pay, holiday pay, and subject to dismissal without notice. Constituting a hidden privatised layer of teachers in our schools

4.       That supply teachers have less chance of being employed full time due to prohibitive agency transfer fees. These exorbitant ‘finders’ or introduction fees are charged by agencies, amounting to four or five figures, create a barrier to finding permanent or long term employment.

5.       That agency staff are often required to pay for CPD themselves out of their already unacceptably low pay.

6.       That many NQTs work for up to five years as a supply teacher. If they are unable to find a post suitable for induction, they are forced to leave the teaching profession.

7.       That there is confusion in some local authorities over the eligibility of agency supply teachers to undertake NQT induction on a long term cover assignment.

8.       The change in agency worker regulations that allow agency workers to break strikes

9.       The lobby of teacher supply agencies organised on Oct 28th by the Teacher Supply Network and the NUT.


ITA  believes:

1.       That the NUT should campaign with local governments to establish a central supply register, publicly accountable, non-profit making, paying to scale, accessing TPS so that schools can hire supply teachers directly based on the Northern Ireland model.

2.       This should be a key campaign for the NUT.

3.       That divisions and local associations should elect a supply teacher representative.


ITA calls on the national executive to:

1.       Campaign for a central supply register

2.       Support members in organising further action around supply such as national and local lobbies of supply agencies.

3.       Ensure the NUT provides regular training for supply reps and activists

4.       Organise an annual weekend event at Stoke Rochford for supply reps in addition to the Supply Teachers' Conference.

5.       Collect, monitor and analyse statistics relating to the number of NQTs registered as supply teachers who leave the profession.

6.       Campaign against the excessive introduction fees charged by agencies.

7.       Seek clarification at a national level over the position, and entitlement to induction, of supply NQTs employed on long term cover through agencies.

8.       Offer training to caseworkers and supply teacher officers/reps in supporting NQTs working as supply teachers.

9.       Encourage local associations to make contact with newly qualified supply teachers to evaluate what support they may need.

10.    Offer and promote training to support NQTs who are working as supply teachers.


B)      National Gallery Dispute 


Islington NUT congratulates PCS members at the National Gallery in their tremendous success in protecting terms and conditions at the gallery and in securing the reinstatement of representative Candy Udwin. We note that it took over 100 days of strike action to secure the victory.

We agree to send a letter of congratulations and donate £200 towards the strike fund.


C)      Labour Party  


Islington Teachers Association notes:

1)           That Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory is a welcome departure from the pro- austerity of “austerity-lite” policies of previous establishment politicians.

2)           That Corbyn has a democratic mandate to carry out the policies that he campaigned on.

3)           That Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies are ones that reflect the desire of millions of working people.

4)           That attempts by the establishment and politicians both inside and outside of Labour to undermine Corbyn’s mandate are simply attempts to defend the policies of austerity, marketization and war. 

We resolve

1)           To support and add our branch’s name to the statement (reproduced below) signed by most national union leaders, include Christine Blower and Kevin Courtney of the NUT, backing Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity policies and his democratic mandate to lead Labour.

2)           To mobilise for the biggest possible turn out on The TUC national lobby of parliament on Monday 2 November against the third reading of the Trade Union Bill

Statement referred to in 1 which was launched by Unite the Resistance at the TUC and its intial signatories include leaders of almost all major trade unions in Britain.

The overwhelming election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is a hugely welcome development for everyone who opposes austerity, racism and war.

The thousands who packed into halls across Britain to hear Jeremy are clearly looking for a new kind of politics that breaks with the pro-austerity consensus. Some were established activists but many were young people from a generation that have faced the assault on EMA, spiraling tuition fees and the rise of zero hours contracts.

They have been inspired by the campaign’s message. After years where the Labour leadership often aped Tory policies the party now has a leader who is a socialist with a proven track record of standing in solidarity with those fighting against injustice and for peace.

His first act on being elected was to join the demonstration in support of refugees in London and to speak out in defence of the trade union movement and against the Tory Trade Union Bill.

He won in an election where over 400,000 voted and he won almost 60 percent of the vote. This gives him a clear democratic mandate to carry out the polices that he put forward during the leadership contest.

Any attempt by the media, or politicians from either inside or outside Labour Party to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he represents flies in the face of what is clearly an overwhelming democratic mandate.

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory has already sent shock waves through an establishment that for years has had the luxury of a political leadership on both sides of the House of Commons prepared to back austerity.

In Corbyn they see someone who stands for resistance to year after year of privatisation, cuts, and war. In short – policies that make the 99 percent pay for a crisis created by the 1 percent.

We call on all those both inside and outside the Labour Party who support the pro-union, anti-austerity, anti-racist and anti-war policies that Jeremy Corbyn has put forward to stand up to any attempts to undermine his democratic right to lead the Labour Party and the programme he has supported.



D)      Reps Activists Conference   


Islington NUT notes the proposal for a Reps and activists conference in Manchester on November 28th, building on a very successful fringe meeting at NUT Conference 2015.
We note that the aim of the Conference is to bring together Reps and other activists from different parts of the country to discuss how we can organise around key issues in schools and learn from our the successes.
We agree to support the conference with a donation of £100 towards the cost and to encourage school Reps to attend, funding the train fare for any that do so.


E)      Climate Change  


Islington NUT notes

·         We need to make the sharpest, fastest transition possible to a low carbon economy if we are to avoid a 4C global temperature rise by the end of the century

·         that current extreme weather events, from uncontrollable fires in California and Australia to droughts, floods, hurricanes and cyclones around the world, are the result of just 0.68C rise from the 1960s average.


·         that we are in decade zero to start making this transition

·         that the next three months will be crucial to influence the Paris Climate Summit in December; which is a make or break chance for an agreed international strategy

·         that if it fails, it will be even more important to press for as much action as can be taken anywhere we can force the issue.

In this light we congratulate Robert Blair School for raising £12 000 from local businesses and community to put solar panels on their roof, thereby saving 2 tonnes of CO2 and £1 000 in fuel costs every year and urge other schools to do the same.

We note that since its election this May the British government has moved from dragging its feet to moving purposefully in the wrong direction

·         Encouraging fracking and discouraging wind farms.

·         Maintaining subsidies for fossil fuel companies and slashing subsidies to solar to the point that the sector is likely to go belly up.

·         Removing planning regulations that made new buildings carbon neutral.

We resolve to

·         Support the Climate Change demonstration in London on November 29th and circulate our Reps with posters and mobilising material.

·         Produce a model letter for parents, a Reps briefing for members to pressure MPs directly around the Paris Summit and material that could be used in classrooms/assemblies for students to do the same, including the Our World Art project.


F)      Trade Union Bill  

Islington NUT condemns the plans outlined in the new Conservative Government’s Trade Union Bill.

 The Bill will introduce ballot thresholds for legal strike action requiring 40 percent of all those eligible having to vote yes with a greater than 50 percent turnout in any ballot involving workers in essential services.  If these were applied to general elections, some 270 Tory MPs presently in the House of Commons would not have been elected and Ireland’s recent marriage equality referendum victory would have been a ‘defeat’.

 We believe that it should be for trade unions to decide if they think support is broad enough for action to be called – not for anti-union, pro-cuts politicians to block strike action. If the government were really concerned about building participation in union ballots, then they would allow unions to replace home postal ballots with workplace balloting using mobile phones and internet voting.

The Bill will also:

·         Allow for the use of agency staff to replace striking workers

·         Increase the amount of notice needed to be given to employers before taking action

·         Introduce a need to re-ballot members after a set time of an ongoing dispute

·         Require the union to submit plans of picketing in advance with all pickets requiring to identify themselves to the police and wear armbands.

·         Require the union to submit plans on its use of social media when taking strike action


ITA therefore welcomes the unanimous opposition to the bill expressed at the TUC conference.

We agree to support and publicise the demonstration called by the trade Union co-ordinating Group on 13th October.

We further agree to work with other NUT Associations, trade union branches and the Trades Council to organise joint activities to publicise and oppose these threats, including calling on local Labour MPs and Councillors to publicly condemn the Tories’ plans and advocate Labour repeals them when it comes in to office. 

In addition we call on the National Executive to:

  • Use ‘The Teacher’ and Reps’ Bulletins to clearly explain how the Trade Union Bill threatens our ability to defend teachers, schools and other public services from Government attacks, and why we must organise to oppose these threats.
  • Co-ordinate with other trade unions and campaign groups to organise either a midweek or weekend national demonstration in London to coincide with the date when the Bill is being debated in Parliament, likely to be this autumn.
  • To initiate a serious debate amongst members on the issue of our union being prepared to break the laws contained within the bill if they are used against us.

G)      National Officer Elections   


Islington NUT agrees to donate £50 towards the campaigning costs of each of the four candidates that we have nominated in the Vice President, Treasurer and Examiner of accounts elections.