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Choosing a Union - How do they differ?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by jenini, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. jenini

    jenini New commenter

    Like many others who have recently secured NQT I am in the process of choosing a union to join, and to be honest I am finding it difficult to come to a decision.

    What I really would like is an overview of the different unions (I am in England) and how they differ. Are some unions more politically left/right wing than others? Are some better for NQTs? What will support be like if something goes wrong?

    If anybody is able to offer a brief summary of their union (or others they know) and the issues that are generally important to that union then I would be really grateful. At the moment I am struggling to distinguish between the many unions I can join so any pointers would be much appreciated.
     
  2. jenini

    jenini New commenter

    Like many others who have recently secured NQT I am in the process of choosing a union to join, and to be honest I am finding it difficult to come to a decision.

    What I really would like is an overview of the different unions (I am in England) and how they differ. Are some unions more politically left/right wing than others? Are some better for NQTs? What will support be like if something goes wrong?

    If anybody is able to offer a brief summary of their union (or others they know) and the issues that are generally important to that union then I would be really grateful. At the moment I am struggling to distinguish between the many unions I can join so any pointers would be much appreciated.
     
  3. I have been part of my union since doing my TT. However would consider changing if the union I am part of does not have a school rep. The school rep is important to you, as they are already in school and you are able to approach them on a day to day basis if needs be. They would also be there to attend meetings with the head alongside you if you needed them to be.

    So as a consequence the smaller unions may not be the best choice for you as an NQT. I would have a look on the noticeboard in the staff room of your school when you go in for induction day and make your decision by what you can see.

    My union offers courses for NQTs before the start of their induction, part way through, and at the end of induction year. Despite being 2 years qualified, I have not yet attended these as I have not had my NQT school, now i do I shall be attending in August.
     
  4. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    On day to day basis, there isn't much between them. They'll all generally give you the same support if you have an issue within your school that you need help with (still dependent on the quality of the reps, regardless of union).
    On a national level, it breaks down like this:
    NUT: Keen on striking, particularly as a first resort. Don't tend to want to compromise. You'll find a fair number of the old school militant sorts here.
    NASUWT: Likes to discuss things and try to hammer out a deal and only strike when they feel they've talked all they can.
    ATL: As one ATL member put it to me they are: "Roll over and die", which is why I didn't join them. Only just got into the strike game over pensions (but generally never do), but then quickly signed up to the government's proprosals.
    There's also Voice, who don't do striking at all (I believe they're a professional association?). Ironically, I've never heard anything about them - they are the smallest of them.
     
  5. I have only ever been in one, NUT, would never consider leaving them. They have been brilliant, supported me way beyond strictly taken duty. When I joined they were the only teaching union that accepted qualified teachers only (I'm not sure if this is still true, heard some rumours about NUT accepting CSs) and this also made me vote for them.
     

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