Elections are underway in the NUT teachers’ union.
Recent teachers’ strikes showed the anger they feel at attacks by Tory education secretary Michael Gove. Many teachers are deeply disappointed that NUT and NASUWT leaders have retreated from calling national strikes this year.
Unions say they will call a strike before 13 February if no progress is made in any talks.
Gove has confirmed he will only talk about the implementation of attacks on teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions. He remains committed to the attacks.
Current NUT elections take place in that context.
Three left candidates are standing for two vice president (VP) positions. The Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA) is supporting two candidates—Phillipa Harvey and Louise Reagan. Socialist Workers Party (SWP) members are part of the STA.
Louise has said that if any talks fail and the NASUWT is not prepared to strike, the NUT should be prepared to strike alone.
Phillipa has said that the NUT should “seriously consider” taking action alone in that situation.
STA-backed candidates must express the wish for united action and the frustration teachers feel at the delay to strikes.
Postponing action risks losing momentum.
At the NUT’s recent national executive SWP members supported a motion that argued the NUT should strike this term.
Martin Powell-Davies from Lewisham, who voted alongside SWP members on the executive, is also a VP candidate.
Some leading STA members argued and voted against the motion.
SWP members are fighting to win the STA to the position that the NUT should strike independently if the NASUWT won’t fight. Socialist Worker believes NUT members should vote for candidates who back action.