Socialist Worker

The NUT must strike in March - even if the NASUWT won't

by Paul McGarr, NUT union rep
Issue No. 2336

teachers were among the first public sector workers to strike for pensions in 2011  (Pic: Kelvin Williams)

teachers were among the first public sector workers to strike for pensions in 2011 (Pic: Kelvin Williams)

The NUT union’s national executive committee will vote on whether to call a one-day national strike in March on Thursday of next week.

The Socialist Teachers Alliance—a key left grouping within the union which Socialist Worker supporters are in—met in London last Saturday.

Activists from around Britain and several NUT national executive members were there. They unanimously agreed that the NUT must call a strike in March at its meeting—without the NASUWT if necessary.

Gove is still attacking teachers’ pensions and living standards. He wants to scrap national pay scales and end the “portability” of pay—where teachers maintain pay levels when moving schools.

This bully’s charter would hit women teachers who take career breaks to care for children the hardest.

His “Ebacc” plan to replace GCSEs threatens to create a two tier system. His new primary curriculum, phonics tests and grammar and spelling test will destroy child-centred primary education.

Academies and free schools are privatising education, paving the way for schools run for profit.


But the Tories are weak and divided. They can be beaten.

Teachers must use our full power and take national strikes against Gove’s attacks. The key issues we can do that over are pay and pensions.

NUT members have repeatedly backed strikes on these issues. Strikes shut schools and create a political crisis. They hit other bosses as workers stay at home to care for children.

A majority on the NUT executive has put off calling strikes as they hoped for joint strikes with the NASUWT union.

United action would be good. But it now seems that the NASUWT is not willing to take national action until autumn at the earliest. This would be far too late.

We need a sustained, hard-hitting programme of strikes to beat Gove. Socialist Workers Party members have argued for this on the executive.

We need to put pressure our union to call the action. That means going flat out to build the reps’ meetings called by the union.

It means passing motions and sending messages to general secretary Christine Blower and our local executive members calling for strikes.

The time for waiting and half measures is over. Gove is coming for teachers and education. It’s time to strike back.

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