Letters extra: Union behaving "like a spoilt brat"

5th March 2004 at 00:00

I wonder if those responsible for the recent propaganda emanating from the National Union of Teachers share the same planet as the rest of us, because the "Betrayal" material issued last week plumbed the depths.

First of all, cards on the table: I work in education, am not a member of a teaching union and believe the interests of all those who work in education is best served when representative bodies work together and in concert. I was saddened when the NUT disenfranchised its membership from talks on reshaping the school workforce but recognise that a democratic organisation has to have the freedom to choose its own path.

That freedom always comes at a price - in this case it was the largest teaching union absenting itself from the discussions on key issues for teachers and support staff. Whatever the NUT's reasons, it is now behaving like a spoilt brat which, if it was a student, would be excluded from school.

As far as I can see, the other three teachers' unions, both headteaching unions,nbsp;three unions representing support staff, local government of all political persuasions, central Government and the Welsh Assembly are all sat round the table thrashing out the future of education while the NUT stands with its nose pressed against the window, occasionally shouting abuse.

Directly attacking organisations it claims to want to establish `professional unity' with is either stupidity or hypocrisy but for the sake of the entire teaching profession I hope that the NUT reconsiders the negative wrecking propaganda before it causes irreparable harm. The working conditions of union members improves via the difficult but unavoidable path of effective representation, negotiation and measured argument - it seems to me the only people benefiting from the current stance of a big teaching union are those who wish to see partnership and constructive dialogue between employers and education workers fail.

Salvatore Smith

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