Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Union Rights & Education Funding: TUC Day 3

Today kicked off with many unions' impassioned pleas to support the TUC's response to the Government's  2nd Reading approval ( narrowly)  of their TU Bill, which greatly limits TU activity, and the Right To Strike, the Right To Picket, and which brings the Police ( already stretched!) into the whole process. Reps' time off to support members ( Facilities time) will be greatly restricted! Supply Agencies to be used to break strikes by covering classes where staff are out on strike! Need I go on?
The new voting system requires an substantial  number of members to send a postal vote for strike action to unions. An Abstention, and even failing to vote, will be taken as a No vote!
And yet, ironically, this Government was elected to power by 24% of the National vote! So, 76% of us don't want the Tories!!  Crime Commissioners were indeed elected to power on 14% of the vote! We'll need 40%!!!
Most businesses elect their Boards on far less!!
Electronic Balloting is surely the 21st Century way forward! But we are denied this option. Young people expect to be able to use this facility. Therefore, We must  'Kill The Bill'. Lobby Your MP!!
'We need to go to Manchester,en masse,  and disrupt the Tory Conference!' urged Malcolm Davies, of UCATT. He quoted Bob Crowe, ' if you fight, you may not always win, but if you don't fight, you will lose! '

The  Education  debates here have backed up everything we knew about education issues locally!

ATL's Shelagh Hirst,  said of the Supply Agencies that there wouldn't be enough agency staff to cover, so would staff there be quickly recruited, not properly CRB checked? No proper handovers between staff? So would vulnerable pupils, those with medical needs etc be put at risk?  Many financially desperate agency staff would be forced to cross picket lines. Future staff relations within schools would then be significantly damaged!
The current Education Funding Crisis was  seen as a disgrace, and a  TUC campaign on Funding was agreed.
6th Forms and FE's were keen to point out the attacks on pay and conditions of staff in all Post 16 institutions, and in universities.  There have been 24% cuts this year alone.

Campaigning by the TUC will follow to reverse the recently cut funding support for disabled students, and those with additional support needs!

Many speakers, including the NUT, spoke of how poverty affects the learning and life chances of vulnerable children today!

The Living Wage was cited as essential therefore, as a start.

The role of fast food chains, Sports Direct etc were mentioned as poor employers, who pay far less, and the use of zero hours' contracts as being a barrier to pulling workers out of poverty!indeed, encouraging poverty for profit!!

Some speakers talked of how some teachers try to help students by paying for their lunches, by getting clothes for them from schools' Lost Property Boxes.

 How, for those on Free School Meals, that lunch will be the only decent meal they'll get all day, and that at the weekend, they'll go hungry again, waiting for Monday, and dreading the school holidays!!!
Powerful stuff!!!

The TUC will campaign, using the United Nations Convention on The Rights Of The Child, which states: ' The best interests of the child must be a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect children' and ' Every child  has the right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and social needs and support their development'.

Hold tight! Jeremy Corbyn to speak at Congress this afternoon! Can't wait!!

Sarah Carter
SE Region NUT
TUC Delegate

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