Socialist Worker

Teaching unions must call more strikes

Issue No. 2385

A teachers strike rally in Norwich last year

A teachers' strike rally in Norwich last year (Pic: Helen McGuinness)

Activists in teaching unions are calling for more action to defend their pay, pensions and conditions.

Tory education secretary Michael Gove is determined to ram through attacks on teachers.

Unions called successful regional strikes against the attacks last year. 

There should be no further delay to calling national action that can have a bigger impact.

Jess Edwards is an NUT rep and primary school teacher in Lambeth, south London. She told Socialist Worker, “The joint union strikes last year were magnificent. Union leaders must set a date for further action.

“Future strikes would preferably involve both the NUT and NASUWT. But if the NASUWT retreats, the NUT can and should fight alone.”

The NUT is set to hold a special meeting of its national executive committee (NEC) on 16 January. 

It follows talks between Gove and teaching unions in mid December last year.

Gove made clear the talks were limited to discussing the “implementation” of the attacks, not the attacks themselves. 

And he rejected a demand from all teaching unions for him to meet directly with the NUT and NASUWT.

The NUT sent an update to members last month. It said the meetings had not included “substantive discussions”.

It stressed that the NUT and NASUWT agreed that “if there were no significant progress before the end of the year then there should be a day of national strike action before 13 February 2014”.

And it added that national officers of the unions have the power to call action before the NUT NEC meeting this month.

There is clear support for more strikes to defend teachers. 

A recent YouGov survey showed 80 percent of NASUWT members and 81 percent of NUT members backed the strikes.

 National teachers’ strikes would cause enormous disruption and have the power to force Gove back.

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