NASUWT: Global attacks on trade unions are attacks on fairness, equality and social justice

Proposing a motion on attacks on trade unions at the TUC Congress in Bournemouth today, the NASUWT highlighted the violence and oppression targeted at teacher trade unionists in countries like Colombia, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Bahrain and highlighted the deep concerns of the Union about the anti-trade union legislation being promoted in the UK.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Across the globe, oppressive regimes are attacking trade unions because they stand for equality, fairness and social justice. They are the voice of ordinary working people and their activities empower working people.

“This is a situation not restricted to oppressive regimes in other countries.

“Shamefully, this includes the Coalition Government in the UK which is engaged in union-busting activities and has attacked trade unions’ and workers’ rights in order to serve the interests of big business and the market.
“The current assaults on teachers’ unions are not random acts. They are key pieces of a carefully constructed jigsaw to enable publicly funded agencies, riddled with conflicts of interest and without any scrutiny, to marketise and privatise public education provision."

Mick Lyons, President of the NASUWT, who moved the motion, said:

“The teaching profession is under attack around the world. In many countries teachers are being faced with violence, oppression and intimidation because education is seen as a threat to corrupt governments and organisations.

“The consequences are extremely profound, not only for teachers, but also for the effect that this will have upon children and young people, and therefore upon the future direction of many countries around the world.”


Full text of the motion:

Attacks on trade unions
Congress deplores the attacks on teacher trade unions around the world.
Congress asserts that attacks on teachers are a fundamental breach of the human rights of children and young people.
Congress believes that the globalised attack on teachers and educators are designed to open education to predatory privatisation and profiteering.
Congress reasserts that education is a public good and not for private profit.
Congress notes with concern evidence of increasing violations of teacher trade union rights, together with intimidation and violence against teacher trade unionists, published by the International Trade Union Confederation, Amnesty and other bodies.
Congress further asserts that high quality education depends on national and international governments respecting fully the rights of teachers and educators under ILO Conventions 87 (Freedom of Association), 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining) and 111 (Discrimination).
Congress deplores the UK coalition government’s union-busting practices and actions designed to bully and bribe teachers into joining government-sponsored/financed organisations as a means of undermining independent, free trade unions.
Congress demands an immediate end to the violent repression and flouting of international labour laws, including laws which criminalise strikes by teachers or which prohibit teachers from establishing or joining free and independent teachers’ unions.

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
Campaigns and Communications Team
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746