21st March 2008 at 00:00
From the outside, the one-man campaign by activist Hank Roberts (below) to merge the three biggest teaching unions seems rather lonely. Yet he has managed to win election to the executive councils of both the NUT and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), suggesting a secret sympathy for his cause among teachers.

He is also branch secretary in Brent, North London, for the ATL, NUT and NASUWT, meaning that the Easter conference season is an exhausting time for him.

The least welcoming union seems to have been the NASUWT, which stymied Mr Roberts' attempts to make it a hat trick by passing a rule banning officials in other unions from sitting on its executive. And now the certification officer has upheld the decision.

The officer was told that the measure was being quietly referred to within the union's executive as the "Get Hank" rule. Nonetheless, the officer judged that it was reasonable because of a potential conflict of interest if one person was on more than one executive.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said the outcome recognised that unions were in competition and that there was a risk that confidential information might be shared.

Mr Roberts said: "There's no way I'm going give away secrets. They were just fearful that somebody supporting professional unity might get elected, proving that the majority of teachers wish there was one strong, united union."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now