From the archive - Jarvis wins ovation for NUT pay campaign

19th November 2010 at 00:00
13 September 1985 - Teachers were applauded at the Trades Union Congress for battling economic policies

Teachers last week won unanimous approval from the TUC for their pay campaign - and Mr Fred Jarvis, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, received a standing ovation.

There was none of the "here we go" razzmatazz of last year's miners' dispute or the Soviet-style applauding of those in the gallery in the manner popularized by Mr Arthur Scargill - although 300 striking Lancashire teachers did unveil a banner in support of their claim.

Instead, there was a more dignified standing ovation led by Mr Ray Buckton, the train drivers' leader, in recognition of the fact that the teachers were the only group of workers still fighting the Government's economic policies.

Mr Normal Willis, TUC general secretary, told delegates that teachers "couldn't come cheap", adding that it was now time the Government gave priority "to groups that the British people care about".

Mr Jarvis said that 100,000 NUT members had already taken strike action during the eight-month-old dispute. "Teachers are striking a blow for all public sector unions because we're fighting arbitrary cash limits."

He said that despite deliberate attempts to discredit the union leadership there had been massive "yes" votes in ballots on industrial action.

"We've had the employers going behind our backs to tell our members how marvellous their last offer was," he said. "You expect these things from Ian McGregor. You don't expect them from the Labour leader of a local authority."

Mr Jarvis went on to describe the #163;1.25 billion four-year package offer from Sir Keith Joseph as "a con trick which will not fool you".

Mr Fred Smithies, general secretary of the National Association of SchoolmastersUnion of Women Teachers, said his union's strike action would be "increased substantially" from October 1.

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