TEACHERS WERE waiting to see if their union leaders were about to call a halt to industrial action, as Socialist Worker went to press. There is a mounting sense of anger and betrayal in staff rooms. A special executive meeting of the National Union of Teachers was set to consider whether to suspend "no cover action" on Wednesday of this week.
The NASUWT union executive voted last week to suspend the action. NASUWT members contacted by Socialist Worker said they were outraged at the decision. And NUT activists were putting pressure on their leaders to sustain the action. The government and local authority employers have been left reeling by teachers refusing to cover for vacancies and absences of longer than three days. Education secretary David Blunkett first tried to bully teachers into covering for a record number of vacancies.
Then he and the employers offered talks and said they would consider paying teachers overtime. But the industrial action was called to highlight the shortage of teachers and cut increasing workloads. Teachers in school after school report that staff reject talk of overtime payments.
They want decreased workload and more teachers, and intend to send that message to their union leaders this week.