Teachers defy bully Blunkett
EDUCATION secretary David Blunkett is trying to bully and threaten teachers who began industrial action this week to end the scandal of teacher shortages. Teachers in the NUT and NASUWT unions in London and Doncaster are now refusing to cover for vacant posts and absences of longer than three days after a nine to one vote for action.
Some 95 percent of members of the two unions in Leicester and Nottinghamshire voted for the same action in a ballot released on Tuesday. Over a dozen other areas are balloting. Blunkett told the Tory Daily Mail on Monday, "We are getting increasingly iron-souled about this, and we are looking at ways we can deal with the unions in a way they could be surprised about."
Unnamed officials later suggested that teachers taking action could have their pay docked or be passed over for promotion by heads. Blunkett arrogantly accused teachers of "walking out on children". But a record number of children have no teacher to "walk out"-there are at least 10,000 unfilled posts in schools in England and Wales. Parents should back teachers fighting for more resources in schools. And teachers should demand hard-hitting action from their unions to face down Blunkett's bullying.