Socialist Worker

Teachers' union conference backs June strike over pensions

by Julie Sherry, at NUT conference
Issue No. 2297

Teachers at the NUT union's conference have voted to seek to organise another national strike over pensions in June.

A solid third of delegates backed a call to join strikes planned for early May. Although the amendment fell, this is significant and shows the mood to fight.

And several other amendments were passed to toughen the executive's motion.

The final motion passed called for a plan of coordinated strikes starting next term – and the urgent announcement of a calendar of action, including a one day national strike.

The amended motion also stresses the importance of not relying on 'the willingness of NASUWT to take part as a necessary requirement before proceeding to call further strike action'.

This means the NUT will not wait for the NASUWT's timetable, as some had suggested. NASUWT, which is also holding its conference this weekend, has voted for possible strikes in the autumn.

It was evident that NUT delegates went into the debate with the intention to engage in a serious discussion about the way forward.

Many were already dissatisfied with the union leadership’s decision to call a London strike on 28 March rather than a national one.

Some left the conference hall with a sense of frustration. Andrew and Pam Rudge, NUT delegates from Telford, told Socialist Worker that 'leaving this dispute unfinished isn’t going to help the crucial battles we face over pay, workload and privatisation'.

'People are looking for something definite to follow from the top of the union,' they said. 'We need to push through the rest of conference debates to make sure we get the action in June, and that the executive know that’s the feeling of conference.'

Paul McGarr, an East London delegate and mover of the motion to join the May strike, said that the numbers voting for it 'were significant, particularly as this was opposed by all sections of the union leadership, including the left'.

'Nevertheless,' he added, 'conference unanimously backed a call for the pensions fight to continue, with more regional strikes after Easter, looking towards a national strike in June.

'The challenge now is to turn these words into real action.'

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Article information

Sat 7 Apr 2012, 22:33 BST
Issue No. 2297
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