Teachers urged to join forces for super-union

Wigan teachers are being encouraged to vote in favour of creating a new education super-union to better raise issues in the classroom.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:24 pm
Wigan NUT secretary Max Atkins and Wigan ATL branch secretary Angela Wells celebrating the creation of a new teaching super-union

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the education union ATL recently voted overwhelmingly at their recent conferences to create the National Education Union (NEU).

Wigan NUT divisional secretary Max Atkins and Wigan ATL branch secretary Angela Wells will now tour the borough’s schools in the new year urging members to back the plan for the NEU.

The new union, which is set to come into existence in September 2017, would become the fourth largest union in the Trades Union Congress with more than half a million members.

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Delegates at recent special conferences in London voted 97 per cent in favour of the merger and both Mr Atkins and Ms Wells says the move would strengthen the industry’s voice on a wide range of issues.

Mr Atkins said: “We have campaigned for more than 20 years to have one teaching union and this vote brings it a step closer.

“We have more similarities than differences, so the compromises and concessions both sides made were not major, but imperative for us to move forward.

“Angela and I will be making joint visits to schools in the New Year explaining why amalgamation is a great idea and to encourage our members to vote in favour.”

Ms Wells said: “A new union will represent the whole of the education profession, more than half a million teachers, support staff, lecturers and leaders, across the UK’s maintained and independent sectors. A new union will bring together the best of ATL and the NUT to give education professionals greater support and representation in the workplace, as well as a stronger voice locally, regionally and nationally, to give the country the strong education system it needs for the future. We will be stronger together.”

It is hoped having one major teaching union will make negotiations with schools and the Government more effective. The merger could also help education representatives combat new tougher laws on trade unions which impose high quotas on members being balloted and agreeing to industrial action.

The two unions have worked to iron out policy differences, with an agreement in place to ensure teaching assistants will be members of the NEU. Previously the ATL has permitted assistants to join but only fully-qualified teachers could be recruited for the NUT.