Pensions Lobby Update

Thank you for your work on the pensions campaign so far. The collective action taken on 30 June was fantastic Reports from around the union, from school after school, showed that many teachers stepped forward to become school reps; and many thousands of teachers joined the NUT to take part in the action.

 The action put the Government on the defensive and exposed its arguments to close scrutiny. The argument that teachers’ pensions are ‘unaffordable’ was comprehensively undermined. Opinion polls showed that our action won widespread public support for our campaign.

 In recent weeks, the Government has reiterated its claim that it is taking talks with us seriously and that there is genuine room for negotiation. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. It is clear we need to maintain, and escalate, the pressure on the Government this term.

 

Next steps

 

Building on the momentum from 30 June we have launched a mass petition and joint union lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 26 October. We have two key objectives:

 

  1. Mass petition: every workplace to sign and return the petition

 

  1. Lobby of Parliament: every school to send a representative

 

We are delighted that we will be working with six other teaching unions in England and Wales (ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NASUWT, UCAC, UCU) to achieve this. We want this lobby to involve thousands of teachers from up and down the country, and we want as many schools as possible represented. Our aim is to have at least one teacher from each school in attendance.

 

We are aware that, for the vast majority of members, the lobby will take place during half term. This date was chosen after discussions with our sister unions. In the few areas which are not on half term on 26 October, all of the unions are advising their members that lobbying of MPs should be constituency based and take place outside of school time.

 

This mass lobby has several aims. Firstly, we want to put pressure on individual MPs. Secondly, we also want this to be a publically visible demonstration of our continued anger and resolve. To this end, we intend to hold a march and rally on the day too. Thirdly, we want to demonstrate to the Government that our approach is reasonable by not immediately taking further action which would be disruptive to education.

 

Of course the lobby doesn’t preclude further strike action this term. Indeed if the Government doesn’t negotiate in good faith, strike action is probable in November. This is especially true given that the EIS, NAHT, NASUWT and UCAC are currently or will be balloting their members for industrial action. The lobby is therefore an important tactic in our overall strategy and in building for any future action which we hope would include our sister unions.

 

This lobby will take a high level of organisation. Below we set out some practical steps we would like you and colleagues to take in your school.

 

Action steps:

Remember you should always look to involve as many members as possible in this campaign. By acting together we are more effective.

 

·        Work with staff in your school or college to organise and attend a meeting between 12 and 23 September to select at least one representative for the lobby. 

 

We want everyone to see the lobby as a collective action, so holding a meeting to allow teaching staff from all unions to discuss who should go will be very important.  There are no restrictions on how many people from each school can attend the lobby, so it is fine if more than one person wants to attend, although you will need to bear in mind how to cover travel expenses.

 

You should also aim to set up an organising committee that can help carry out the practical tasks outlined below.

 

  • Talk to your head teacher

 

All heads are being sent a letter from the General Secretaries of the seven unions alerting them to the lobby and asking for their support.

 

You, along with reps from sister unions in your school, should talk to your head teacher about the lobby. Remember all leadership unions are supporting this lobby and your head should help facilitate this. Travel costs will need to be met by all teachers in the school.

 

  • Register lobbyist details

 

Once it has been decided who will be attending the lobby they should, as a matter of urgency, register their details on the joint union microsite www.decentpensions.org.uk

 

  • Ask your lobbyist to email their MP for an appointment

 

Lobbyists should also email their MP to request an appointment for the day of the lobby.  There is an email your MP facility on the joint union microsite. www.decentpensions.org.uk

 

 

  • Get all teachers to sign the petition

 

All teachers should be asked to sign the petition which was enclosed in last week’s mailing.  Your head teacher has been sent a copy of the petition and further copies can be downloaded from the joint microsite www.decentpensions.org.uk   

 

This petition should be posted in advance of the lobby (preferably by 7 October) to Freepost RSSS-GEJE-ATAX, Central Mailing Services, PO Box 16246, Birmingham B11 9FQ.  In addition a copy should be taken by the lobbyist to hand in to your school’s constituency MP on 26 October. If your school is unable to send someone to the lobby, it is still important that teachers sign the petition and return it to their Division Secretary who will ask another lobbyist to deliver it.

 

  • Further details of arrangements on the day of the lobby will follow.

 

Action points overview:

 

·        Organise a joint union meeting for all teaching staff by 23 September if possible. Use template flyer available on www.decentpensions.org.uk to publicise the meeting.

·        At the meeting, decide who will represent the school at the lobby.

·        If possible set up an informal committee to help carry out necessary tasks.

·        Discuss, with your head teacher and colleagues, how money should be collected to cover travel expenses. 

·        Complete the details of who will be attending by visiting www.decentpensions.org.uk

·        Lobbyists should be asked to request an appointment with their MP via www.decentpensions.org.uk

·        Ask every teacher in your school to sign the petition to be delivered to Parliament.

·        Ask any non-union members to join.

·        If you have any questions or concerns contact your Division Secretary or regional/Wales office.

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