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Horror as NEU in deep crisis as Labour slams belligerent leadership for putting children at risk

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Luvsskiing, May 14, 2020.

  1. greensofa

    greensofa New commenter

    The Unions have traditionally made gains for working people. Many? teachers would be happy with the idea of some form of legal representation to avoid the awkward definition of their class position. As in, their collective position in society, not where they arrange the desks :)
    BenjaminMJones likes this.
  2. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    ...and they are as welcome to that as others are to avoid the politics involved with joining a union. 52% of educators in the UK are not unionised, if I remember correctly.

    Have teachers realistically ever been considered working-class? The pay at various points in time may have made it seem that way, but having worked in some very dirty, "blue-collar" environments before entering the profession, I don't personally regard educators as working-class. Your mileage may vary.
    TheHeadteachersOffice likes this.
  3. greensofa

    greensofa New commenter

    The concept of class definition and the question of class allegiance will be conveniently tidied away for many. Instead, personal opinion and identity politics will stand in place of objective analysis. My mileage does indeed vary, nice turn of phrase but I recognise the gains made by Unionisation.
  4. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    I am not at all disputing that gains have been made by unions. I am not convinced however that they fairly represent all their members (and yes, Independent school teachers need it too). I was in the NEU until TPS negotiations failed, pay was decoupled from the national pay scale despite supposedly having a recognition agreement in place at the school. I saw no further benefit in being a part of the NEU after many years of membership. I also joined the ATL in the first place because it was less political in my view than the NUT. The merger was not something I was in favour of.

    As for identity politics, that is something I feel is divisive and damaging when trying to work towards a fairer society. It's tribalism by another name.

    In any case, I chose Edapt because reviews have been excellent, the fees are reasonable and it is apolitical. Whether that makes me a "scab" or class traitor in the eyes of others is immaterial. I'm a street urchin from Dagenham anyway so have dealt with worse
  5. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    A union is only as strong as its members. Were you balloted on industrial action? Did you take it?

    I was an NUT member for several years, now in EIS (their sister union in Scotland). We successfully fought off 12 threatened redundancies, the only job lost was someone who hadn't joined a union (not that we hung them out to dry, but we legally couldn't protect a non-member). This worked because we had lots of members locally and were willing to take strike action which escalated over a number of weeks until the LEA caved.
    strawbs likes this.
  6. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    from your documents;
    The number of employees in the UK who were trade union members rose by 91,000 on the year to 6.44 million in 2019.
    Trade union membership levels among employees have now risen for three consecutive years following the fall to a low of 6.23 million in 2016.•
    The proportion of UK employees who were trade union members also rose slightly to 23.5% in 2019 up from 23.4% a year earlier, and from the low of 23.3% in 2017.
    •The rise in trade union numbers among employees was driven by the increase in female members, up 170,000 on the year to 3.69 million in 2019. This was the highest number of female employees who were trade union members since the series began in 1995.Public and Private Sectors
    •Trade union membership levels rose by 74,000 on the year among public sector employees to 3.77 million in 2019, accounting for around four-fifths of the overall increase in membership levels. There was also a small rise in trade union membership numbers among private sector employees of 17,000 to 2.67 million in 2019.
    Scintillant likes this.
  7. greensofa

    greensofa New commenter

    I think Unions have been increasingly drawn into attempts at personal representation, managing employee/employer relations, thrashing out settlements and the like. I do not think you are alone, perhaps even in the majority, to view their Union through a more consumerist prism, in return for their not insubstantial annual fee. I do not know this for sure but judge on the basis of stories read mostly on TES and changing experiences in Schools.

    It is good to read the above, where collective action has secured gains. So much newsfeed comes through individual stories and I think there is a good reason for that, fragmentation playing into the hands of the Employer or State. The framework has shifted - I can remember the miners and Thatcher Government and have seen divisions in Society widen ever since. Whatever happened to collective ambition but perhaps Unions are now the wrong organisation for that purpose?
    jcaulfield likes this.
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Working life is political.

    Edapt won't secure teachers better conditions or support us as a group. Pointless.

    They're for teachers who vote Tory and want cheap legal representation.
  9. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    If you want to frame yourself as the vanguard of some imaginary revolution, knock yourself out. Just don't expect everyone else to follow.

    Working life is political if you want it to be. I do not and am happy to just get on with it, whether that be backbreaking manual labour or the more academic challenge of education (I have done both). I also voted for an Independent candidate last time around thanks, as you opted for the typical "Waaah Tory" response - it just illustrates the points already being made. I would vote for none of the mainstream parties as they are currently.

    The NEU, as I have said already, needs to work for all its members, including "sell-outs" like me in the Independent sector. It wasn't too long ago the NEU leadership was salivating over politicians who would quite gladly see places of work like mine close.

    "You don't agree with me, so you must be the enemy". No wonder our kids are growing up lacking in critical thinking skills!

    As I have said, Edapt suits me just fine. I haven't come on here telling anyone else what they should do. You can cast all the aspersions you like, but all that does is further illustrate why many people have over the past few years either left unions or not unionised.
  10. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    Still - only 23.3% of the working population and 48% of the teaching profession belong to unions. Out of a three-decade trend downwards, there are 3 years of growth. More than that is needed to demonstrate that the unions are on the rise again. Once "normality" returns it will be interesting to see where the numbers go.

    I am not opposed to people joining unions. I just do not want to be part of them myself as they are now.
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    No, it is.

    The government make ideological decisions about schools. My conditions are much worse as a result.

    What am I incorrect about?
  12. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    We were not balloted. NEU membership is quite low as is NASUWT membership in my workplace, so industrial action would probably have had relatively little impact. We were given the pretence of "consultation" and a staff representative body was appointed which included the NEU rep and other members, but all to no avail.
  13. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    Well, insinuations about the voting habits of Edapt members for a start.

    If you choose to be politically active, that's up to you. I have no interest in being so, and that's up to me. We haven't quite reached peak Orwell yet. This whole binary outlook on life is problematic to say the least.
  14. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I am not. However, I know what the role of a Union is, and what it does for its members. I only needed it once in 20 years and it was brilliant. There is a strength that comes from a large union.

    Anyone joining Edapt is undermining the mainstream teaching unions, and they know it. That itself is a political act.
  15. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    But the teaching unions' numbers are supposedly exploding at the moment, so what do you have to fear?

    I have no respect for our current government - quite the opposite, in fact. Labour at the moment doesn't know if it's coming or going, and as for the Lib Dems...

    I also grew up in a very working-class household split firmly down the middle between Conservative and Labour. It gave me no love for either side. At the fringes, they are just as bad as each other. I found both sides had no real grasp of what it was to be working-class.

    People sometimes leave organisations when they don't feel that they are heard, represented, or in the case of Independent school staff, even wanted by those working in the state sector. Why pay higher fees to get weak representation from a union that really doesn't know how it feels about you being a member in the first place?
  16. greensofa

    greensofa New commenter

    Do you think - asking teachers why they seek legal representation, as opposed to collective action, is a good question?
  17. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    It is, and I am sure there are a variety of answers. Mine is that I am not particularly political and that I feel that the NEU represents me. I still require some "insurance" for work, as I do not have much faith in the management team to look out for the staff.

    This article is from someone in the Independent sector. I can't say I agree with their overall tone, but it might give some idea of why some are not willing to join a union:

  18. greensofa

    greensofa New commenter

    Thank you jcaulfield - I suspect your position is possibly the majority view. It was Scintillant I was asking for that very reason - the Unions seem to be struggling to listen to and/or ask questions of their (ex) members. The movement must move on.
  19. jcaulfield

    jcaulfield New commenter

    I don't agree with the belligerent tone of the article. I would like to be part of an organisation that focuses on looking after all its members and that part I do agree with.

    I think exit questionnaires would be a good idea. I was not asked why I felt the need to leave. I have not ruled out rejoining. As you say, the movement must move on.

    Anyway, thank you for keeping things civil. I know I can be a bit snappy at times myself and need to rein it in! Thank you to strawbs for taking the time to discuss union membership figures. The past 3 years may show a turning tide for union membership, or it might be a bump in a downward trend. As always, time will tell.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekends everyone!
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    It isn't about which way you vote. A union can support its members, and more importantly, its profession, from attacks upon it. The teaching profession has been treated poorly by this government and the last Labour government. Our rights and conditions have been eroded. We need unions to stand up for these as much as possible. Teachers have been poor at supporting their unions (often out of self-interest) and we are where we are.

    I support my union as political parties will not support us as teachers. Edapt undermines our unions. If we were to lose our unions, we'd be walked all over by politicians.

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