Thursday, 14 July 2011

Executive Report: July 2011

The full executive met on 14th July, at Stoke Rochford Hall.

The first section of the meeting was given over to a special discussion about the Pensions negotiations and the ongoing pensions campaigns. Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary gave a detailed report, which is summarised above.

The vice-President, Marilyn Harrop welcomed John to the Executive, to replace Pete Bevis who has retired as the member for the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield area. Gill Goodswen was elected to replace Pete on the board of Stoke Rochford Hall, and Kendra Deacon to take his place on the Council of the Teacher Support Network.

Jerry Glazier, Nina Franklin, Marilyn Harrop, Hazel Danson and Gill Goodswen will represent the Union at a seminar with the American Federation of Teachers.

The meeting re-nominated Christine Blower and Dave Harvey for the TUC General Council- two places for which we have automatic nomination. We decided not to nominate any candidates for the General Purposes Committee or the additional places for LGBT, Disabled or Young Workers.

Christine Blower, General Secretary reported.

She began by congratulating the Union's Parliamentary Lobbyist, Chris Brown, who has been elected as a Councillor for the London Borough of Southwark.

Christine reported on a positive meeting last night, at Stoke Rochford, between Strategy and Finance Committee members with Andy Burnham, the shadow Education Secretary- who was keen to discuss education policy as part of the Labour Party's policy review (the NUT is not affiliated, and is independent of all political parties) . Christine and colleagues particularly put the case against Academies and Free Schools and the role of the Local Authority in the management and planning of schools. It was a useful dialogue, and Andy stayed after for some drinks (I was able to have a chat over a pint..)

At all the three Party conferences, we will be discussing the Role of the Local Authorities, based on research commissioned by us and Unison with the Local Government Information Unit.

The White Paper on Public Services is nothing less than an all out attempt to destroy the public provision of services: not just to the non-profit sector but to the private, profit making sector. The Health unions are fearing that the proposals after the pause in the NHS reforms, the new proposals may be even worse: it looks as if the "any willing provider" will remain.

Christine had attended a meeting about the Learners Charter. proposed by Professor Gus John, of the Institute for Education.

Show Racism the Red Card has launched some research, which highlighted the scandal that there is still no anti-racist provisions within Initial Teacher Training. This was not "anti-teacher" but it did highlight a significant area of development that was needed. I asked if the research and its consequences were also looking at the need to work on anti-homophobia training for initial teacher trainees.

John Dixon has done great work on the University and College Union and the Musicians Union, joint partnership agreements. Christine welcomed the updated agreements with the EIS (Scotland) and the UTU and the INTA (unions in the North of Ireland) who are also working very closely together. Christine had attended an Education International, and welcomed the opportunity to work with colleagues in teacher training unions in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the countries experiencing the current "Arab Spring". It was noted that Bahraini trade unionists are facing severe repression and were unable to travel. Representatives from the newly emerging independent trade unions from Egypt were welcomed for the first time. Clearly an opportunity for us to support these in terms of developing the structures and policy work of these growing organisations. Also discussions of the importance of encouraging and supporting women to take positions in the new unions.

Christine praised the Union's work at the TUC LGBT Conference, where Gill Goodswen held the fort for us on day one, due to the strike action, and the rest of the delegation who participated in the second day. Also, the Union had a superb turnout for our float at London Pride.

The Disabled Teachers' Conference was also extremely productive, and a number of priorities identified for the Union.

A Reception for Justice for Colombia said goodbye to the outgoing chair, Jeremy Dear, who has stood down as General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists. The NUT was well represented at the Durham Miners Gala, and expected a similar level of visible strength at the forthcoming Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and the Burston Strike School Rally.

Alex Kenny warned the executive about the planned demonstration by the fascist EDL in East London - they are already making clear that this will be a virulently Islamophobic event (they are referring to the "Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets") and have timed this to be two days following Eid. He urged divisions to support the work of anti-fascist organisations in opposing the march.

Reports were also received from the sub-committee; from the standing committee, and on the Union's ethical investment policy.

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