Get ready for the ballot on strike action – we need to all help to get the vote out

Hopefully you have had something of a break from teacher workload over the Easter holidays. I certainly wouldn’t usually email you outside term time, but then these are not usual times!

Get ready for a ballot for national strike action

NUT Annual Conference agreed policy on a whole range of issues not least over our campaign against the White Paper and its threat of forced academisation of all schools. Delegates voted overwhelmingly for a ballot for discontinuous national action beginning with a one-day strike planned for early July and with further days planned to follow.

Our dispute is over the threat to funding and jobs, pay and conditions. In London, we already know that funding cuts threaten education budgets. We already know how performance pay and excessive workload are threatening teachers. However, the White Paper threatens even greater deregulation for teachers – in both existing academies and maintained schools. As the NUT DGS Kevin Courtney explained, it would mean “teachers and support staff will be left at the mercy of negotiations with individual academy chains, their chief executives and boards, with no elected parent governors. These are the same chief executives lambasted by Ofsted’s chief executive Sir Michael Wilshaw for paying themselves too much … This sort of deregulation is always introduced to drive down pay and conditions, not to improve them. It is about getting education on the cheap”. In defending our conditions, we are defending education too.

The strike ballot doesn’t open until May 23rd, but we will need your help from the beginning of term checking membership records and encouraging, explaining and preparing colleagues for the vote. Look out for further news about special reps’ meetings being organised in your Division to build for the ballot.

If you are willing to volunteer to assist the campaign, particularly in making calls to members in schools without reps, do give the Union your details via http://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/volunteersballot

Support the Junior Doctors

In closing Conference, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower made clear that we are supporting the Junior Doctors in their parallel campaign to defend their contracts. Their next strike action will be on April 6 and 7 which, for most teachers, falls in our holidays.

BMA North Thames Junior Doctor Representatives have written to me extending an invitation to all teachers, parents, students and governors in all local communities to join them on hospital gates and public events they have arranged during the days of action. Please do look out for information in your local area and show your support if you can.

Many thanks for all the vital work you do for the Union as a school representative

MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES

Regional Secretary, London NUT

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