By Sadie Robinson
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Teaching unions name a day for strike—but the action is limited

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Issue 2345

The NUT and NASUWT teaching unions have announced a joint programme of action to defend teachers’ pay, pensions and workload.

It will begin with a one-day strike in the north west of England on 27 June. 

Union leaders say the campaign will include further regional strikes and a national strike before Christmas if the government doesn’t back down.

Teachers have been demanding their union leaders call strikes in response to the Tories’ attacks.

Many will be pleased that one strike date has finally been called. 

But they will be angry that the action is limited to the north west of England—and that it won’t happen until June.

Nick Grant and Anne Lemon, members of the NUT’s national executive committee, spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity.

Nick said, “Progress towards an integrated action programme between the two main classroom unions is welcome. But most teachers will find the details inadequate to deal with Michael Gove’s attacks on us.

“In April teachers will get a second hike in their pension contributions. 

“In May damaging changes to our pay structure will be passed through parliament. 

“A below inflation 1 percent pay rise will be imposed from September.

“But teachers will have lost around 12 percent in their incomes overall under the Tories by then.”

Nick added that teachers expected further attacks on their conditions in the autumn. 

He said, “The action timetable seems more calculated to build towards the general election in May 2015 than to fight the immediate threats we face.”

Anne added, “I have spoken at lots of union branch meetings and there are worries that our tactics aren’t designed to beat Gove.

“Union members expect pre-emptive action. We will fight to make any strikes as successful as possible. 

“But we need to keep fighting for a joint, national strike before May and another in June.”

Teachers will gather for the NUT’s annual conference at the end of this month. 

Many delegates will rightly argue for the union to call national action much earlier to take the fight to the Tories.


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