Leaders of the NUT teaching union will meet this week amid growing calls among teachers for strikes.
NUT and NASUWT union members have been engaged in action short of a strike since October last year over the Tories’ attacks on teachers.
Yet education secretary Michael Gove has ratcheted up his assault on teachers.
His latest attack will abolish national pay scales—handing power to head teachers to decide individual teachers’ pay.
Some 300 NUT reps met in London last Saturday to discuss the fight against Gove. They unanimously voted to back a programme of strikes—with or without the NASUWT.
Jeremy, a teacher from Brent, told Socialist Worker,
“Gove is hated in every staff room. We have to get this militant mood into every school.”
Fran from Lambeth, south London, added, “Gove is portraying teachers as lazy people just waiting for retirement.
“He should come into my classroom and see what I do every day. The kids I teach in Brixton deserve choices in life but Gove wants to take them away.”
Barry, a teacher in Islington, said, “I hope we can turn the anger in this meeting into strikes. If the NASUWT don’t want to strike we have to go out anyway—we should strike now.”
The NUT also held reps meetings in Liverpool and Cardiff.
“The majority of reps backed national strikes and reported anger among members,” said Debs, a teacher from Merseyside.
“There was a feeling that a series of one-day strikes wouldn’t be enough and that the NUT should plan a programme of escalating action.
Some reps expressed regret at the NASUWT’s decision not to strike this academic year, but said the NUT couldn’t afford to delay any longer.
“As one rep said, ‘We need action now’.”
In the face of hesitation by NUT leaders, teachers have continued to pass motions calling for strikes.
Tony Buttifint is treasurer of Islington NUT. His branch unanimously passed a motion last week calling on the NUT to launch a programme of strikes—with or without the NASUWT.
Tony told Socialist Worker, “Michael Gove has declared that he is at war with teachers by announcing his plan to abolish national pay scales.
“The NUT must respond urgently and with a strategy strong enough to beat him
“This must include more than the odd strike day or a fight school by school.
“The NUT, alongside other unions if possible but if not on its own, should launch a programme of hard hitting action to defend teachers and the education system.”
The NUT’s national executive committee was set to meet on Thursday of this week.
It must act on workers’ determination to fight and call a programme of strikes that can smash the Tory attacks.