MEMBERS OF the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at St Paul's Way School in east London face an outrageous attack from their own union leaders for standing in solidarity with other workers at the school. NUT members refused to cross Unison union picket lines set up by support staff during a recent London-wide two-day strike.
Now leaders of the NUT are threatening to expel them from the union. 'We have even been asked to provide evidence against ourselves,' one St Paul's Way NUT member told a meeting of 30 NUT activists in London last week. 'We have produced a petition in our support, and are asking for a vigorous campaign to defend us. A major step forward in that campaign would be for more teachers to refuse to cross picket lines if the national council workers' strike goes ahead on 17 July.'
The meeting was called to put pressure on NUT general secretary Doug McAvoy to reinvigorate the teachers' campaign over London allowance payments.
Petitions and messages of support: NUT rep, St Paul's Way School, Shelmerdine Close, London E3 4AN.
SOME 80 people last week heard lecturers' leader Paul Mackney call for a public sector strike during the Labour Party conference. He was speaking at an enthusiastic meeting of members of the Natfhe, NUT and Unison unions at City and Islington College in north London.
UNION ACTIVISTS from Unison, the NUT, Natfhe and the RMT met in London last week to discuss how to unite fights over pay and privatisation. The 55-strong meeting agreed to start to build a broad movement of union members to exert pressure on leaders of their unions to organise unity in action.
The first target is 17 July-a day which could unite Unison's dispute over pay with the RMT's fight against tube privatisation. Next September Natfhe and Unison could unite over pay in colleges.
STRIKE ACTION by Natfhe members at South Bank University, London, has forced management to suspend the compulsory redundancies they were planning. Up to 40 lecturers faced compulsory redundancy. Backed up by strike action and the withholding of exam marks, Natfhe officers were able to negotiate better terms for further 'voluntary' redundancies and a suspension of the remaining redundancies last week.
Natfhe members recognise that their action has wrung concessions from management, but that the threat of redundancies still hangs over some members. The task now is to build on the renewed confidence, recruit new members, and prepare for the possible fight over the remaining redundancies and wider crisis in the next term.