Teachers debate next move as action proposal defeated
TEACHERS will resume discussions today on “excessive” workload after rejecting calls to commit to three days of strikes in the autumn.
Delegates to the NUT conference rejected an amendment which criticised the union strategy on pay, pensions and workload on Saturday.
It had called for a programme of strikes including a national walkout in October and two the following month.
Delegates will hear this morning whether a similar commitment to a “calendar of escalating strike action” will be included in what is likely to be a new dispute over school funding.
Proposing the motion on Saturday, Fylde delegate Stephen Nolan said that excessive workload was “crippling schools, ruining lives and ruining education.”
The motion called for continuing the union’s current dispute with the possibility of further strikes, but members of the Local Association National Action Campaign (Lanac) called for new ballots and a stepping up of action.
NUT executive member Phillip Clarke said that the flexibility of the current strategy and the union’s new proposal “has enabled us to come out of negotiations with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and not take the action we said we would.
“What this is asking you to agree is that the union cannot continue to fight this in the way it has.”
But Camden delegate Andrew Baisley said the amendment was “a caricature of a left-wing motion.”
He said that members would be “perplexed” by Lanac’s refusal to distinguish between different outcomes at the general election.
Bradford delegate Ian Murch warned that during the union’s last strike “the will to act was still strong in some areas but weakening in others — to the point where few schools were being closed down by our actions.
“An army shouldn’t move at the pace of the slowest but it also cannot afford to move at a pace where it leaves so many of its members behind that it is no longer an effective fighting force.”
The amendment was defeated by 140,645 votes to 98,546, but time constraints meant that the substantive motion will be heard only today.
The same fate befell the priority motion on the crisis in school funding, which will now be heard tomorrow.