How effective are our 1 day strikes? Would we see better progress (even the word makes me flinch now) if we extended our strike mandate?
One of my most vocal Twitter colleagues, @bedtonman, as well as a new colleague, @MissCranky, suggest that members don't always get behind a 1 day strike, and ask whether we should assume that they'd be any more interested in a longer strike?
Looking back to when I moved here, and was involved in my first Day of Action with the NUT, I have to admit I was surprised to learn that strike action was decided well in advance, last 1 day, and be optional. Optional!
James Barry has just suggested "don't tell the opposition what you are going to do well in advance." I have deep memories of being a student in 1997, and being surprised to learn that teachers across Ontario would be striking until their dispute was resolved. The result was the largest strike in North American history, lasting two weeks and involving 126,000 teachers and 2 million students.
The biggest problem, though? The teachers didn't win. After 2 weeks, they went back to work. But they didn't lose, either. Following the two weeks of strike, teachers in Ontario then engaged in a series of rotating 1 day strikes (in addition to being locked out in many cases). But, over time, concessions were made.
Damn. What a paradox.
At the NUT Conference, we are facing a pretty serious question about our willingness to extend our strike mandate.
My view is that this is a question with extraordinarily serious implications, and unfortunately very much at the front of my mind is the idea that we will be potentially relinquishing hundreds or pounds in pay in order to strike. There are no strike pay provisions in place, and eventually the money coming in won't match up with the money that needs to go out.
And, building on that, I think it's dangerous if such a small number of people make decisions with such far-reaching implications.
On the other side, my colleague has pointed out that we need a change of tactic. And she is absolutely right. At the moment we are in the midst of a decision so I will look forward to the results while I post this and turn my attention back to Twitter.