Schools in England are now reaching crunch time in responding to government instructions to restructure their staff. The deadline is 31 December, but at least four weeks are meant to be set aside for management proposals to be scrutinised by unions.
The government’s intention is to strip away from teachers whatever work they think can be done by lesser-paid assistants. They want schools to completely rebuild their internal structures, saving millions of pounds on the specific rewards given for additional responsibilities.
Outrageously, the main author of the detailed advice on these proposals is the general secretary of the second biggest teachers’ union, the NASUWT.
The vast majority of managements are ignoring the proposals and instead are implementing what the National Union of Teachers (NUT) recommended, a simple switch from present to future structures, so that pay is not cut or workload increased.
This is a victory for the left inside the NUT who agitated around a simple conversion table showing the points onto which jobs could be assimilated.
But there are schools where managers are taking this opportunity to victimise union activists or slash costs.
In these cases NUT leaders have promised to fully support successful ballots for strike action. Fifty schools are holding indicative preliminary ballots to use in bargaining talks.
According to Caroline Coleman from Newham, east London, “We won our indicative ballot at Sarah Bonnell school. Rokeby School, Stratford, has won their real ballot and Langdon School, East Ham, started their indicative ballot this week.”
Other schools balloting include Alperton School in Brent, west London, Bideford College, and Lodge Park Technology College in Corby, Northamptonshire. Coordinating these fights will form part of the agenda at this weekend’s conference of the Socialist Teachers Alliance.
For more information go to www.socialist-teacher.org