Unions, stand up and fight

3rd July 2009 at 01:00

At a time when elected representatives are exposed lining their pockets at public expense, what sort of a trade union tugs its forelock in deference to these "financially-straitened" times? The answer, judging from the letter from the general secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, is: only a useless "trade union".

Let me explain. Members make proposals at meetings. If most other members present agree, the proposal becomes policy. But strike action can be taken only when a majority of all members agree by means of a ballot.

No education trade union has recently balloted its members on strike action and, if any did, the vast majority of rank and file members have the option of approving or rejecting this suggestion. The system is called democracy, and it is usually a difficult one to grasp for individuals accustomed to power.

I shall never be eligible for membership of the AHDS. If I were, I would prefer to join an organisation that is willing to fight for pupils and stand up for its members.

James Forbes, Corstorphine High Street, Edinburgh.

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