The NUT teachers’ union is pushing for a coordinated, national public sector strike in March over pensions.
The union’s national executive committee passed a resolution committing the general secretary and deputy general secretary to push for more action “before the contributions increase as part of an ongoing campaign involving further action”.
The contributions increase starts in April.
This makes the NUT the second union to call for a strike in March after the UCU union. Scottish teaching union EIS has also called for a further strike (see box above).
More than 80 NUT school union branches and associations have now passed motions calling on union leaders to call further action.
They include schools in Sheffield, Birmingham, Gloucester, Wakefield, Cambridge, St Helens, Swindon, Coventry, Calderdale, Redbridge, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Camden, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
The votes reflect the determination of teachers to continue the fight to defend pensions. But there are also debates about the best way to fight.
Mary Alexander is a teacher in Camden, north London. Teachers from across the borough met on Tuesday of last week and passed a motion calling for more action.
Mary told Socialist Worker, “The meeting was very positive. People saw the need to keep up the momentum.
“People reported back from their schools, and in some there are mixed opinions on what we should do next. Sometimes people focus on the short term and worry about losing a day’s pay if we strike.
“But the government’s reforms would mean we’d be losing a day’s pay every month.”
NUT members across Waltham Forest in east London also met on Tuesday of last week.
“We unanimously passed a motion calling on the executive to call another strike before the end of term,” said Ursula, a teacher in Waltham Forest.
“Another motion calling on the executive to name a day for a further strike was defeated. People argued that we needed more time to get more unions on board.
“But there is clearly a mood to keep on fighting.”
Talks are continuing among those union leaders who have rejected the government’s latest pensions offer.
The NUT will hold a special executive meeting on Thursday of next week to discuss the outcome of talks with other unions.
Teaching unions have the potential to hold powerful strikes. They can shut down schools across Britain—and spark wider action if members of other unions refuse to cross picket lines.
NUT executive member Nick Grant told Socialist Worker, “NUT members should continue to meet as school groups and branches to agree action motions.
“We need to give our general secretary even more evidence of our willingness to fight—despite both government and opposition politicians telling us to shut up!”
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