Socialist Worker

Teachers are organising now to make summer and autumn action a success

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2401

Teachers are gearing up for walkouts after the NUT union overwhelmingly backed more strikes at its conference last month.

Delegates backed plans for a strike in the summer term and for the union to develop a programme of action for the autumn.

Workers in several other unions—such as Unison—could also be on strike in schools and local government in the summer. 

Paul McGarr is a teacher and NUT rep in east London. He told Socialist Worker this was boosting teachers’ confidence to strike too.

“There is enthusiasm for being part of a strike of over a million,” he said. “To lots of teachers that feels like an escalation.”

United strikes can have a big impact. But the NUT must be prepared to strike even if other unions don’t. A national strike by the NUT in March had a big impact and was more successful than many had expected.

Some workers are already taking action, and that can feed into the national disputes too.

Argument

“The key thing to do this week is to do a collection for strikers—the Lambeth College workers if you’re in the south of England or the Doncaster Care UK workers in the north,” said Paul. “It is important for them, and it raises an argument about escalating strikes.”

Workers also need to organise to put pressure on union leaders and build up the confidence of rank and file teachers.

“We don’t want a repeat of 2011 when the great pensions strike was followed by dismal retreat,” said Paul. “We need to press for strikes to go beyond one-day protests. 

“Escalating strikes can turn the heat up and win real gains for us—and for everyone who hates this government.”

Teachers also plan to lobby parliament on 10 June and join the People’s Assembly demonstration in London on 21 June.

Paul said these could help strengthen the strikes. “Teachers should hold school meetings and agree to send at least one teacher to the lobby. They can approach the head and say they want someone released to go.

“It can prepare the ground for making the strike more powerful. And they should also pass a model motion teachers have circulated calling for united strikes and escalating action.”


What to do in your school:

Now is the time to build rank and file teacher confidence

  • Do a collection at work for the strikes at Lambeth College and Doncaster Care UK
  • Hold school meetings
  • Arrange to send people to the NUT lobby of parliament on 10 June and People’s Assembly demonstration on 21 June
  • Pass a motion in your school or NUT association calling on union leaders to escalate - download here

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Article information

News
Tue 29 Apr 2014, 17:48 BST
Issue No. 2401
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