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Tes Editorial

Underwhelmed by union conferences

The NUT and NASUWT have been bleating on again at their Easter conferences. Yawn.


So it's not just me who finds Easter weekend a slightly embarrassing time to be a teacher? I spend much of the holiday telling friends and relatives that not all teachers agree with what is on the news, and in fact many wish TV cameras would stay away from conferences.


What on earth are you embarrassed about? Surely not the prospect of further industrial action? Bring it on!


It is hard to see just what the NUT and NASUWT hope to achieve with further strikes. All the unions are operating from a very weak position. There is absolutely nothing to prevent the government from implementing pension changes in spite of any action or posturing from unions. None of us like the situation we are in, but maybe we have made the best of a bad deal and should now focus on battles we have a chance of winning, such as no-notice Ofsted inspections, forced academisation and so on.


Forced academisation? Is it not a bit late to fight this?


An escalation of action short of strike action is the best idea (which the NASUWT has voted for). Refusal to cooperate with the various box-ticking activities would make teachers' jobs a lot easier and, to be honest, would not affect the education of pupils.


The truth is that if teachers bothered to get involved and participate in their union a bit more, maybe the union would have a more credible position regarding what teachers want. The unions are doing their best in the current circumstances, trying to be the voice of those who only join "for the insurance". "Bleating" from teachers about their union is akin to rubbishing a meal they themselves have cooked.

I would rather be a member of a union of 10,000 united members than one of 120,000 members who want the benefits but don't help to shape the organisation.


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