Commitment to industrial action strategy reaffirmed

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, will today reaffirm its industrial action strategy to continue to defend the interest of teachers and the teaching profession in the run up to the General Election.

The strategy will be integral to the overarching campaigning message, launched at the Conference, calling upon teachers, parents and the public to ‘Reclaim the promise’ – Vote for Education.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Our public education system is a promise we make to the nation’s children and young people that they will have opportunity, high quality, good outcomes and an expectation of success for all.

“This promise cannot be delivered unless governments recognise the centrality of the teacher workforce to securing these outcomes.

“Attacks on teachers are attacks on children and young people.

“That is why the NASUWT implemented in 2011 an industrial action strategy which focused on defending teachers’ pay and working conditions and jobs.

“The determined and resolute stance of NASUWT members across the UK in supporting action short of strike action and, at the appropriate time, strike action, has secured notable successes.

“In Northern Ireland only the NASUWT action short of strike action instructions has made life bearable in schools for teachers.

“In Scotland our stance on workload was instrumental in securing a working party to examine the bureaucratic burdens on teachers.

“In England and Wales, the retreat of the Secretary of State on teachers’ non-pay conditions was a major victory as his ambition to tear up the teachers’ contract was thwarted.

“The fact that after over three years of refusing to engage to discuss the deep concerns of teachers, and indeed having made a virtue of not doing so, the Secretary of State has been forced to the table for dispute resolution talks was another significant success.

“The NASUWT will engage constructively in the discussions as our members would expect us to.

“But the pressure is on the Secretary of State.

“NASUWT members remain committed to maintaining and, if necessary, escalating the current industrial action campaign, including moving to further strike action.
“The NASUWT has achieved huge success in protecting members during the last four years of assault on their conditions of service, but it is vitally important in the run-up to the General Election that we see all political parties committing to national frameworks of pay and conditions of service for the school workforce which will upload the values of a high quality, democratically accountable education service."

Notes to editors:

The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham from 18-21 April.

The full text of the motion is below.

The NASUWT has been engaged in a continuous programme of industrial action since November 30 2011 over attacks to teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions, excessive workload and job loss.

The industrial action strategy has included:

•           action short of strike action instructions to protect and defend members on a daily basis;
•           strike action, including in individual schools and clusters of schools to oppose the imposition of punitive pay and performance management policies; a day of national strike action on 30 November 2011 in England and Wales; and a rolling programme of strike action on 27 June 2013 and 1 October and 17 October 2013 which involved all regions in England.

Reclaim the promise – Vote for Education information is available in the Conference exhibition and available on request from the NASUWT press team.

2(b) motion

Conference applauds the commitment and resolve of NASUWT members across the UK who have taken and continue to take a strong and resolute stand against the attacks on their pay, pensions, conditions of service and jobs.

Conference further applauds the continuing success of the pupil, parent and public friendly industrial action which has delivered considerable benefits, including sustained levels of member and public support.

Conference congratulates members in England and Wales for their solidarity in action which has forced the Coalition Government to retreat on its plans to remove the non-pay conditions and secured a programme of talks with the Secretary of State, including specific meetings on trade dispute resolution.

Conference asserts that the Coalition Government’s u-turn is a vindication of the industrial action strategy, pursued since 2011 and reaffirmed by Conference in 2013, which demonstrates once again the organisational strength, discipline and solidarity of NASUWT members and activists.

Conference pledges vigorously to oppose any attempt by the Westminster and the Welsh Governments to decouple teachers’ pay and conditions of service across England and Wales.

Conference further congratulates members in Scotland on their courage and determination to protect professional pay and conditions of service of teachers in the face of the appalling attacks by the Scottish Government and employers.

Conference commends the resolve and solidarity demonstrated by members in Northern Ireland who are in an historic seventh consecutive year of industrial action in pursuit of pay and conditions fit for teaching and learning in the 21st century, despite political stasis and a deeply flawed teachers’ negotiating machinery.

Conference maintains its full support for the National Executive's industrial action strategy to secure a resolution of the trade disputes across the UK by:

(i)         maintaining and enhancing, as appropriate, the  action short of strike action instructions and

(ii)        escalating to strike action at school, local, regional and national level as appropriate.

Conference resolves that the National Executive pursues a strategy to the General Election in 2015 which:

(a)        seeks to secure commitment from the main political parties to the principles in the NASUWT’s ‘Maintaining World Class Schools’ report adopted unanimously at Conference 2013;
(b)        actively engages members, parents and the public in the NASUWT Vote for Education campaign and

(c)        continues to campaign with other unions in the TUC, the WTUC, the STUC and the ICTU.