Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Solidarity with the NUT!
Today is a good day not simply because thousands of members of our sister union the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are striking against spending cuts in sixth form colleges (it is just a pity that the UCU FE Committee decided against calling further action in the further education sector to coincide with this strike, particularly since UNISON's FE Committee were up for further action).
Today however is not simply a good day, it is a better day because the NUT saw off an attempt by the Government to use the courts to stop the strike, arguing that opposition to spending cuts is a political rather than a trade dispute.
The judge rightly concluded that the dispute is about the impact of the cuts on the terms and conditions of the staff (and therefore a lawful trade dispute).
Of course (as the courts found long ago in the case of UCLH v UNISON) a trade union can have both a trade dispute and a wider political objective - indeed in the public sector it is almost inevitable that the two must go together.
UNISON activists need to study the NUT sixth form colleges dispute, as we may have been too willing in the past to accept the received wisdom that, for example, a national dispute against spending cuts in local government is not a possibility.
For today though, solidarity to the sixth form college lecturers - and to all the students supporting them!
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.