Southwark Teachers Association
Briefing for NUT Reps and members
Subject: NUT strike action on July 5th
After careful consideration of the political situation, the NUT had confirmed that a one day strike will go ahead on Tuesday July 5th – I hope that you will support the strike and join us for a demonstration and rally in central London.
Whenever we take strike action there are many questions from Reps and members and there is an FAQs document on the NUT website which addresses these in detail.
However, we do know that the timing of this particular strike has prompted some specific questions and I want to address this for you here – please take the time to read this and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.
WHAT IF THE STRIKE CLASHES WITH EID?
The NUT was working on information received the Eid would be on 6th or 7th July and aimed to avoid these dates. We do recognise that there is now some uncertainty about the date and that some schools may decide to close for Eid on Tuesday July 5th – if this does happen then no pay should be deducted as it is not a working day.
COULD THE NUT POSTPONE THE STRIKE UNTIL SEPTEMBER?
The ballot was timed so that we could hold a strike this term and we are now constrained by the UK’s very restrictive trade union laws, which mean that if we do not take this action we would have to re-ballot in September – note: under the UK’s union laws there is no option of simply delaying action to September; action must be started within 28 days of the ballot closing.
SHOULD WE POSTPONE THE STRIKE GIVEN THE POLITICAL TURMOIL?
This has been considered very seriously and we believe the demands our strike is putting forward are now more important than ever.
Schools are facing a very difficult budget because George Osborne has FROZEN the money he gives schools, while INCREASING the money he takes from them.
As a result we are already seeing:
- increases in class sizes and workload,
- TA support being cut
- cuts to subjects especially Arts subjects,
- less individual attention for children,
- more limits on pay progression
- worsening of terms and conditions for teachers.
The referendum result makes it all the more important that we highlight these issues, if inflation now rises then George Osborne’s funding freeze will damage education even more.
It is also vital for the Government to acknowledge that they bear the responsibility for increasing class sizes and reduced support for vulnerable children. They are not the result of immigration, but due to deliberate decisions by the government, which have created a lack of funding and of school place planning.
We are therefore calling on Nicky Morgan and George Osborne to commit to investing in education, not cutting it. This is in the interest of our country as well as our children’s education and our teachers and support staff. The Union has written to Nicky Morgan outlining some steps she could take which would allow us to suspend our action.
WILL NUT MEMBERS SUPPORT THE STRIKE?
Yes, we are now steadily receiving reports that schools will be closed on the day due to our strike action. Since the strike was announced over 1,000 new members have joined the NUT and our local branch has gained XXXX members in the last two weeks.
WILL PARENTS SUPPORT US?
Yes, a number of campaigns have recently been set up by parents ,who share our concerns about government policy. We are encouraged that these groups are supporting our campaign and strike action and will be speaking at rallies, see here:
Let Kids Be Kids http://www.letkidsbekids.co.uk
Rescue Our Schools http://www.rescueourschools.co.uk
Parents Defending Education http://www.parentsdefendingeducation.wordpress.com
The NUT has produced a leaflet for parents explaining the reasons for the strike and asking them to support us – a number of heads have agreed to send this home to parents.
The die is now cast and our strike is on, we now have to make it is as big, successful and visible as possible – please do discuss this with colleagues and support your Union in its campaign for teachers, children and schools.
Thanks and best wishes,
For more details or copies of the documents referred to here please go to the NUT website