Organising with teachers
One of the best things about working at the TUC is that you get invited along to speak at union conferences which is a great way to get some sense of the priorities of respective unions.
Traditionally it is the teaching unions – ATL, NUT and NASUWT – that get the union conference season underway and this year the TUC Organising Team attended all three. I facilitated a couple of workshops at the ATL conference in Liverpool and spoke at a fringe meeting at the NUT’s conference in Cardiff. Paul Nowak did two fringe meetings at the NASUWT in Bournemouth.
A common theme throughout the contributions that I made at the ATL and NUT events was the need for teachers unions to concentrate on building their respective activist bases. In a sector where density is not the key issue the visibility of unions in the places where their members work and the ability of the union to represent members and campaign effectively is particularly important. Even more so in a sector that has and continues to experience such profound changes in the organisation and management of workplaces brought about by local management of schools, Trust and Academy schools.
One of the challenges that teaching unions face in this context is how to both rebuild and strengthen their activists bases whilst ensuring that activists have adequate time and resources to be able to effectively represent and campaign with members.
The TUC’s Bargaining to Organise resource pack contains a set of useful resources for union reps seeking to increase the resources at their disposal and ease the job of being a rep by improving facilities agreements. We are also planning to re-launch the B2O campaign in the summer.