Monday, 18 June 2012

Executive Report: June 2012

The full Executive met on 14th June at Hamilton House. 

During the approval minutes of the last meeting, a member asked why the division (recorded vote) on the question of June strike action was not circulated to Associations and Divisions in the Executive Report.  This was due to be sent out as a separate circular for Association with enough detail to explain the motion. Christine apologised that this had not yet gone out and also explained that she didn't think there was space or time to have got the full wording of the motion and the voting list into The Teacher magazine.   It was agreed than any subsequent recorded votes would be sent out with the Executive Report (My note- this was the first recorded vote during my four years on the executive: so not something that’s come up before !)
The Executive nominated representatives to a variety of outside bodies- domestic bodies  such as the British Science Association, National Playing Fields Association , the Fawcett Society,  the National Foundation for Education Research and the Schools Music Association, and international focused organisations such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Palestine solidarity organisations, and the League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers.

I was elected to represent the Union with the Council for Education in World Citizenship and the Home-School Council.

General Secretary, Christine Blower reported.
Christine praised the work of staff, including Amanda Brown and Caroline Cowie (press office), and congratulated Audrey Allen-Chitwa on becoming a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Accountants.

She praised the latest official membership figures- 324,367- making us the fifth largest affiliate to the TUC behind Unite, Unison, GMB and Usdaw.

The joint declaration with the NASUWT is now a reality. We got a huge amount of press and TV interest, and many messages of support from union members, as well as interest from other trade union leaders.  This is an excellent basis for the joint ballot for a wider trade dispute. Christine also reported that Michael Gove is willing to meet the NUT and NASUWT to discuss the issues of our dispute.   PCS and Unite are also seeking to widen the scope of their ballots.
Our dispute with Government will include members in community schools, church schools, academies, free schools and sixth form colleges. Members will receive their ballot papers and information from the 23rd June.

Pensions remain at the heart of the campaign- but the way to keep it going is to campaign alongside issues around local pay, workload etc.  She praised the “5 Reasons to Vote Yes”  leaflet going into schools.  We will target any non-strike sanctions at bureaucracy and workload- such as demands to hand in copious amounts of short term planning,  meetings etc, not hitting day to day teaching and learning. There are more examples on the website of what non-strike action could mean.

There is an article on stress in the Times Educational Supplement tomorrow- she urged us to read and highlight this.

Christine reported that legal opinion is that a boycott of, or non-cooperation with OfSTED would still be a criminal offence, but we can certainly take action to avoid unreasonable workload demands on teachers in the run up to inspections.
Christine also highlighted that we have the Durham Miners’ Gala and the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival, plus major demonstrations in Oxford, Sheffield and other locations.  The National Pensioners Campaign is wanting to launch a campaign that crosses the generations campaigning against attacks on both occupational and state pension - to be debated at the NPC’s annual Pensioners Parliament. More information coming from the TUC about the mass demonstration on October 20th.

The Government is under considerable pressure at the moment, in the wake of Levinson, and the Daily Mail’s loss of confidence in George Osborne. !We don’t want the Daily Mail’s idea of a plan B- we want a plan B for growth and jobs !  We can make a difference ! She encouraged us to build and develop the Reps’ briefings on the campaign and ballot.
Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary added to Christine's report.
Kevin has done several reps briefing, and realised that we learn things as we go along. It is vital that we make the case that this action is very much about taking the pensions campaign forward. We are absolutely agreed with the NASUWT that the pensions campaign will be backed with further joint strike action.  The FAQ on non-strike sanctions is being circulated to Division Secretaries, following discussions at the early rep briefing.  Many reps have already held joint meetings with NASUWT colleagues, with  positive results.

Every named school rep will receive letters to help them check that members have received ballot papers, and will be able to alert the union if members have been left off- so they can ring and ask for replacements. We are under no illusions that we are asking members to vote on something big !

There was a question about how we will work with other unions. We remain willing to co-operate on the wider campaigns- Christine gave the example of her invite to Unison's national conference to speak about privatisation of services. 

We received reports from the committees. Annette Pryce and I raised concerns that there was a question mark about the Union's presence at Pride events other than London's World Pride. It was agreed to look at the resource available again.

There was a question during the Salaries and Conditions of Service committee report about the best pattern of lay representation in relation to the diocesan boards that cut across divisions or even regions. Kevin confirmed that this is being looked at, in the same way that we have had to develop our relationship with the Academy chains that have particular geographical focus.

The Officers reported that the ballot on changing the Political Fund rules had resulted in a yes vote of 85.12%  This means that the fund can be used between election time to encourage members to register to vote, and also to support the union's presence at the major Party conferences each autumn.

The executive agreed a timetable for a by-election for the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire area, following Kendra Cogman's resignation from the Executive to take up a full time official post within the Union. Kendra and I came on to the executive together in 2008, where we were the youngest members by ten years. She has been a good friends and colleague, and I will miss her- but wish her good luck in her new role within the Union.

No comments:

Post a Comment