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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by steve1, Jun 20, 2011.
Not in a union - which one should i join??
Voice. Nice insurance policy for if there is ever a problem with allegations. Good to help you out if a problem at work. Will negotiate with the powers that be. Will never ever strike.
What power they must command when negiotiating with govt. Chocolate fire guard anyone?
NUT / ATL - those who earn their fees.
Go with the flow ... whichever union has the largest representation in your school. All the unions are a bit of a curate's egg.
I would say not NASUWT. I was quite disappointed how they came to the College to register us as trainee teachers and then provided with absolutely no legal advice or representations whatsoever. I had taken me applying for legal aid to get a solicitor to sort the situation out - which the NASUWT had claimed it was not possible. So, wrong advice and in addition causing you to question why they registered you as a trainee teacher if they were not there to help (just to get you before you went with another union?). Naturally didn't go with them when qualified.
There is the alternative of EDAPT now - Which if you google and read makes for an interesting alternative to a 'union' in terms of providing legal assistance and 'insurance' for teachers.
I spend much of my time assisting TESSERS whose union has badly let them down, either supporting them to put a rocket under their union or trying to help them find alternative legal advice and assistance.
Purely anecdotally: the greatest incidence of lack of support has been from NUT. Posters have typically found it difficult to have their case taken seriously and been passed back repeatedly to their local rep. This is after they have given me details and I have shared information with them that suggests that, at least on the face of it, there is a potentially very serious and high-value claim involved which needs the opinion of a qualified lawyer.
We have (repeatedly) had to engage various TESSERS' Members of Parliament (all of whom so far have been very supportive and pro-active) and former Justice Secretary Jack Straw to persuade the NUT to fulfil its contractual obligations to members.
I have had similar concerns expressed about NASUWT and have again had to assist TESSERS with strategies to engage the union at the right level for the seriousness of the case.
I have had concerns raised about NAHT, though I currently know of several of its members receiving a very god level of support.
The worst case of negligence and breach of contract that I have come across from a union was from ATL.
I have come across a few TESSERS who are members of Voice. Without exception they have reported exemplary support, at the level appropriate for the dilemma.
Edapt is an option - but note that, because they are not a union, they cannot accompany members to internal disciplinary/capability proceedings. Note too, in the small print of their conditions, they set an upper limit of costs for legal support at £50,000. This would not cover a claim in the High Court where, for example, someone needed to claim damages of six figures. It's easily done, by the way - just multiply ten years' worth of loss of career by an average salary of - say - £45,000 and you get to half a million without trying. Costs in these cases easily can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds - but Edapt won't cover that.
Take your pick!
I think it often boils down to the individual rather than the union. Over the years I have come across an excellent NUT rep and two poor ones, an excellent series of out of hours ATL help desk advisers and a truly woeful district ATL person. As I say, I think a lot boils down to the competency and commitment of the individual rep.
Maybe so but most members don't have access to this knowledge prior to their need for help......... they have to go with the person given I imagine!
Perhaps a rate my union help forum might do the trick?
I was once advised to join the union that the majority of staff at your place of work are in. I was also advised to go to a meeting and see what I thought then. I have found NASUWT extremely helpful over the years. Good Luck.
I have tried to get advice from NUT and had no response. I would take out civil legal insurance or put the £187 a year in a seperate bank account getting interest. I have paid, in full, union due's since 1981 thinking I would have help in an emergency, this is not the case.
don't bother to join a union - any employer has a duty of care to you in any case. The unions have not prevented our workload going through the roof and ever increasing hours. save your money.
A member of staff was NUT. They didn't help her. She left after being put on capabilities. I am with NASUWT as is the majority of staff in my school. I have a very proactive and helpful school rep and my regional rep is ace. He has helped me (successfully) enormously with my current issues. It all depends on the success of your regional rep to be honest.
Perhaps critics of unions should consider the two models of trade unionism, servicing and organising, and decide which one they want.
I'd have a look at EDAPT... they are not a union... so they have no political agenda and have no neeed to 'maintain friendly relations' for the good of the other members.
They will give you advice and they will support and represent you in a difficult situation.
If I was looking for a 'union' now I'd check them out rather than the main ones who I know have let so many people down.
It all depends really on the issue that you need the union to help you with. However good a rep may be, they can only work within the confines of employment and contract law. Sometimes people want a union to wave a magic wand and sort out all manner of issues that they can't.
I would join a major union. Yes you get more complaints about them, but after all they probably are representing 90% of teachers so it is not unsurprising you hear more about them.
And the law is very prescriptive.
Maybe if people understood that the union is not like a motoring breakdown organisation - there within the hour, fix the problem immediately and then go away again - but requires active membership rather than the assumption that someone else will come along and wave that magic wand, unions would be in a stronger position.