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Glen received far fewer votes than teachers wanting to strike
9:29am Thursday 27th September 2012 in Letters
IT was interesting to read, (Journal, September 20), that MP John Glen has written to the Education Secretary to “bring in legislation to ensure that teachers can’t take strike action without a minimum level of support”.
He had been asked to highlight the matter by the headteacher of a local state secondary, who was concerned national strike action was recently approved by “just over one in five members of the NUT”.
A quick piece of research makes interesting reading: Mr Glen received 36 per cent of the vote in the 2010 General Election .
That is 36 per cent of the 65 per cent who turned out to vote.
This equates to 23 per cent of those eligible to vote.
The recent NUT ballot saw 82.5 per cent of members voting for “action short of strike action”
with a turnout of 27 per cent.
This equates to 22 per cent of those eligible to vote.
If the NUT ballot is not representative enough for some MPs, they may have to consider conceding power, dissolving parliament and holding a new general election as well.
Also, if a headteacher cannot see the way that teachers’ pay, conditions of service, job security, workload and pensions have worsened over the last two years then I would suggest that he is very much out of touch with the feelings of his staff.
MIKE HARRISON, Secretary, Wiltshire NUT
- MP John Glen has asked for legislation preventing teachers from taking strike action without a minimum level of support from its members (Journal, September 20).
While sharing concerns about the National Union of Teachers’ tactics and being fully aware of the deficiencies in our education and exam system, I am not impressed with John Glen’s priorities.
I agree that a one in five vote from NUT members is not a strong mandate but let’s consider the following: The conservative party only gained the support of one in four of the electorate at the 2010 General Election.
The coalition was formed on the basis of a national financial crisis, but the dismayingly ineffective Lib Dems have allowed the Conservative Party to cynically exploit the opportunity to push through a far-reaching and radical right wing programme, even though it did not win the election and does not have a mandate for its policies.
Michael Gove has no relevant experience or qualifications for his role as Education Secretary (unless being sponsored by Rupert Murdoch has become a qualifying factor) and yet is pushing through radical changes to our education system for which there is no mandate and there has been no rational, evidence-based debate.
No wonder the NUT is up in arms.
Andrew Lansley has been responsible for a top-down reorganisation of the NHS, which is already resulting in its escalating privatisation, along with overseeing and long term planning being handed to international health care companies.
All this on top of £20billion of cuts adds up to a shameful reversal of promises made in the election. So again, no mandate.
These are just two in a long list of draconian government actions that do not have any democratic mandate whatsoever but include policies which concentrate the burden of “economic austerity” on the average hardworking family and the more vulnerable and less well off members of our society.
At the same time those in the financial sector who caused the crisis get off scot free and continue to acquire vast amounts of unearned wealth.
In view of these points I humbly suggest that John Glen should concentrate on reining in his own government first and only then will he have any moral authority to criticise the NUT for not having a “compelling mandate for action”.
COLIN LAWSON, Salisbury