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Letters extra: unity and diversity

Far be it from me to advise the general secretary of a union to which I don't belong, but I feel that Jean Gemmell (letters, January 25) is wrong to dismiss unity moves in teaching.

While she is properly concerned with diversity, I feel she exaggerates the differences between unions and underestimates the similarities of our core business and common agenda. All workers are entitled to say no to strike action, thus protecting PAT and some ATL members who are part of a wider organisation that choses to pursue its objectives in its own way.

Surely it would be a disservice to members in any organisation to chose to remain on the sidelines while the juggernaut of unity rolls on, leaving it even more marginalised than PAT is now. Jean would, I feel, better serve her members if she sought ways to achieve unity with diversity, perhaps in a federation of education organisations. Such a plan would enable educators to speak with the single voice of a half million professionals, while maintaining distinctict profiles over matters where real rather than supposed differences exist.

Andy Garner

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