The Leaders of the 2 Unions standing together Today
The two largest teaching unions in the UK have issued a joint declaration pledging to fight the government's cuts
The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NAS/UWT) between them represent 90% of teachers in England and Wales. They have served joint notice on the right wing coalition government that they will escalate industrial action next term if the relentless attacks on teachers' pay, pensions, working conditions and cuts in services do not stop. These attacks by the UK government have all been carried out in the name of 'austerity' as this - like so many other governments hit by the financial crisis - attempts to make public services make up the shortfall with massive cuts.
Not only that but the government is accelerating the programme of privatisation of schools - which in England takes the form of academies and 'free schools' - independent of democratic control and run by private individuals, corporations, faith groups or charities. This too is being fought by teachers - last week there were strikes in London and Northampton
- this week there will be a strike at Kimberley school in Nottingham against forced privatisation. (Messages of support can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The agreement between the two unions is historic and as Christine Blower - General Secretary of the NUT pointed out - the coalition government had succeeded where even the Thatcher government of the eighties had failed in bringing the leadership of the two unions together. The UK teaching trade union movement has long been blighted by a lack of unity - enabling successive governments to divide and rule most recently in the so-called 'social partnership' agreement with the neo-liberal New Labour government. Now 90% of theteaching force are standing together to defend public education along with their colleagues in Greece, Spain and in countries all over the world.