Although I think it would have been better if The NASUWT National Executive had called its member’s to strike action on the 26th March, I do not think that is reason enough for me to jump ship and join another union. I have followed the leadership for the whole of this dispute. Now is not the time to change. Now is the time to argue.
The National Exec have taken the decision not to strike, based on their judgement of the situation as they see it now. They must have already been in talks with Gove, or his representatives, and based on that, they feel there is a chance to make some progress on the issues teachers face. That is the National Exec judgement.
I am prepared to accept that, and even though I believe the NASUWT National Exec have made a mistake, they believe they are acting in the best interests of their members.
The NUT have reached a different judgment, based on their assessment of the situation. I’m sure they have considered their future responses, be that more strikes, or even talks. Neither side in this dispute is close to caving in. That leaves talks as the only way to find a resolution.
Gove has shown that he plays games. I have no reason to believe he is a reformed character. He has said nothing to make me change my mind. He has done nothing to make me change my mind.
In fact, his only noteworthy action has increased my suspicions. In the aftermath of the STRB report on Thursday, Gove appointed two new members to the STRB. I do not know these two people, but I’d be surprised if they were appointed to bring more independence to the STRB. Given that the STRB had just rejected most of Gove’s submissions, I think it highly likely that the two appointments were made for no other reason than to increase the likelihood that his future submissions will be accepted by the STRB.
If I am correct, and Gove has not changed his position, and shows no inclination to do so, then it’s likely there will be little progress made in the talks. It is at this point that The NASUWT must show leadership. The NASUWT National Exec will need to respond, again, to Gove’s intransigence. How they respond will be pivotal for many members of The NASUWT.
If The NASUWT, after another breakdown of talks with Gove, were to call a strike, it would be perfectly understandable. It would come some time after the NUT strike, but there is nothing magical about the 26th March.
The options open to The NASUWT and NUT were, STRIKE and then TALK, or TALK and then STRIKE, assuming there is no resolution.
What is M Gove going to make of it all?
On the 26th March he will have the NUT on strike. His rhetoric and sound bites are probably already penned. “Enemies of promise”, or a new updated version of it. Left wing. Militants. Union bosses. Little support amongst members. Banning strikes. Go on Michael, surprise me, come up with an original response to these striking teachers, if you can?
At the same time he will be “consulting” with the other teacher union, The NASUWT. How is he going to present this to the media? And will he surprise us?
Will he start to change his view on the NASUWT union, and its members. Will he applaud the “union bosses” who decided not to strike? In the “consultations” with the NASUWT will he begin to offer concessions to show that consultations bring about progress, change and agreement? Probably not.
I do not think he is capable of any concessions. Not because, “politically”, he can’t. Simply, he cannot bring himself to concede that their might possibly be a view, that is different from his own, which deserves consideration. This is a man whose vanity shines through whenever he appears on a TV screen. And of course he has two agendas, Education, and with increasing importance, M Gove leadership candidate . So come on Michael, surprise me.
He has two unions, approaching the same problem from different directions. It will be interesting to see if his response is different. Let’s see if he can bring himself to consult constructively with the NASUWT. I do not think he has it in him. That will only confirm what millions already think. Here is a man who has such a narrow view of the world, he is incapable of understanding anyone outside of his own narrow circle. Vain doesn’t even begin to describe our friend Gove.
Let’s remember, Gove still has a dispute on his hands. He still has two teaching unions in dispute with him. He has two unions pursuing their dispute, but offering different approaches. If he rejects both unions, what does that say about him?
So come Michael, surprise us. Show us you can think like a rational human. Or will you continue with your ideological crusade which flies in the face of all rational evidence?