Teachers in the National Union of Teachers (NUT) will strike on March 13th. This is to strike back against endless attacks by education secretary Michael Gove.
The Tories want to abolish automatic pay progression and replace it with performance-related pay. This isn’t about giving teachers’ incentives to work harder. It’s about getting rid of national pay bargaining – where rates won by unions apply to all equivalent staff.
This latest attack comes shortly after teachers’ were defeated in their struggle to defend pensions. The union leaders’ inability to wage a sustained, effective campaign means teachers have lost on average 16% of their pay through freezes and higher pension contributions.
The divisions and lack of strategy has given Michael Gove the confidence to press ahead with his plans to transform education – destroying the comprehensive system and replacing it with privately-run for-profit schools.
The Tories don’t want to reform education in order to improve everyone’s chances. They want to take it over, let the market run it, and use it to suit the needs of millionaire bosses and politicians.
This means we need a credible strategy for fighting back. An NUT strike on March 13th could be joined by civil servants in the PCS and university and college lecturers in the UCU. This will also be the day for second European Day of Action – like the one on November 14 which saw millions of workers striking against austerity across Europe.
The last few years have shown that young people, too, will need to take our place in the front lines of this struggle. From the students in parliament square defending access to education, to the youth on the streets of August 2011 rising up against routine police violence, we have been the most willing to join together to take on the Tories.
School students should support their teachers on strike and organise to raise their own demands alongside them. Action committees in schools can unite students and teachers in planning joint action and be stronger by struggling together.