Teachers at the NUT union’s conference voted to organise another national strike over pensions in June.
A solid third of delegates also backed a call to join strikes planned for early May. Although the amendment fell— some teachers were concerned about striking during exams—the size of the vote was a sign of the wider mood to fight.
Several amendments were passed to toughen the executive’s motion.
The final motion passed, called for coordinated strikes starting from next term and for a calendar of action to be drawn up urgently—including a one-day national strike
The amended motion also stressed the NUT’s independence from the NASUWT teaching union.
It said the NUT should not rely on the 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 also held its conference last weekend, voted for possible strikes in the autumn.
Reports from the NUT pensions debate suggest that many delegates were dissatisfied with the union leadership’s decision to limit the 28 March strike to London—as opposed to calling national action.
Some left the conference hall with a sense of frustration. “Leaving this dispute unfinished isn’t going to help the crucial battles we face over pay, workload and privatisation,” said Pam Rudge, an NUT delegate from Telford.
“People are looking for something definite to follow from the top of the union,” she told Socialist Worker.
“We need to make sure we get the action in June—and make sure the executive knows that is the feeling of conference.”
Paul McGarr, an east London delegate, moved the amendment to join the May strike. He told Socialist Worker, “The numbers voting for it were significant, particularly as this was opposed by all sections of the union leadership—including the left.”
“Nevertheless, conference unanimously backed a call for the pensions fight to continue.
“There will be more regional strikes after Easter looking towards a national strike in June. The challenge now is to turn these words into action.”
For more from the NUT conference see Teachers call for more strikes against the Tories