Today, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) announced that members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining to form a new union*. The union will be called the National Education Union.
The National Education Union will come into existence on 1 September 2017 with over 450,000 members, representing the majority of teachers and providing a powerful voice for the whole education profession, including support staff, lecturers and leaders working in state-funded and independent schools and colleges. It will be the fourth largest trade union in the UK and the biggest union of teachers and education professionals in Europe.
Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL said: “This is an historic moment. I am delighted that both ATL and NUT members have voted to come together to form the National Education Union. With nearly half a million members, we will speak with a stronger voice on behalf of education professionals and the children, young people and adults they support. The Government will need to listen when we speak on the key issues facing education – funding cuts, excessive workloads, the recruitment and retention crisis, the chaotic exam reform, and accountability.
“The new union will combine ATL’s diversity of members, training and policy expertise with the NUT’s lobbying and effective local activity. It will be the largest union in most schools, bringing together everyone in their workplaces - teachers, lecturers, support staff, heads and managers – and empowering them to share their expertise and improve their working lives.”
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT said: This is a fantastic result for members of both unions and for education. For too long Governments, have played divide and rule amongst education unions. Today marks the beginning of the end of that. The NUT and ATL both have proud histories, but speaking with one voice we will be a stronger force standing up for education, teachers the wider education profession and for the children and young people we teach. The National Education Union will be a game changer in the education landscape and I am delighted to be jointly leading it forward over the coming months and years.
Commenting on the rise in consumer prices to 2.3%, Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
“The cost of living is rising but the pay of dedicated civil and public servants, who are working harder with fewer resources and face coping with the demands of Brexit, is being held down by this Tory government.
“The case for lifting the 1% public sector cap is now unarguable and must be done immediately.”
Phillip Hammond’s announced increase in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will directly hit the incomes of some of the most economically fragile workers in the economy. The vast majority of self-employed workers, freelance journalists among them, have seen average incomes fall dramatically over the past decade. Self-employed workers have become a vital part of our flexible economy, but are denied basic rights enjoyed by those in employment. Hammond’s NI hike is a shameful blow. Self-employed workers the length and breadth of the country should seek out their elected representatives and make their displeasure known.
In refusing to lift the 1% public sector pay cap, chancellor Philip Hammond is condemning “just managing” civil servants to wage cuts of up to 20%, the Public and Commercial Services union says in response to the budget.
The union wrote to the Treasury this week to call for the cap to be lifted and highlight new research that shows from 2010 to 2016 average civil service pay fell by between 8 and 9% in real terms.
The study, which uses Office for National Statistics data and was published this week, also found maintaining the 1% pay cap until 2020 would mean the value of pay falling by 12% when measured against consumer prices – and up to 20% if measured by the retail price index that includes housing costs.
The decline in civil service pay has been greater than in the rest of the public sector and the wider economy, according to the research carried out for the union by pay and employment expert Dr Mark Williams of the University of Surrey.
In her first speech as prime minister in July, Theresa May said: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people at Westminster realise…If you are one of those families, if you are just managing I want to address you directly.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “By any definition, the government’s own workforce, who are facing a 20% cut in their pay, are ‘just managing’ and deserve the help the prime minister promised they would get.
“We will continue to fight to break the 1% pay cap and to stop Theresa May’s government condemning civil servants to three more years of wage cuts and hardship.”