Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Support the Strike, Support Teachers, Support Education.

Tomorrow thousands of teachers will walk out in a nationwide strike called by the National Union of Teachers (NUT). The Rugby Green Party understands and shares the concerns of these teachers who are acting to defend the integrity of their profession and are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with their fellow workers. This strike action is not the result of an irrational or hostile trade union. It is an action of last resort, taken due to numerous long-standing grievances.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has severely damaged the relationship between teachers and central government by stubbornly pushing through top-down reforms, failing to take into account the views of those who actually work on the frontline of education. As a result trade unions representing hundreds of thousands of members (including the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the NUT, and the NASUWT) have declared “no confidence” in Gove’s policies, which they say are not in the best interests of children, parents or schools.

The main reasons teachers will be out on strike tomorrow are:
  •  Excessive workload, with the government’s own research showing that primary school teachers work up to 60 hours
  •  Excessive bureaucracy which diverts focus from teaching to box-ticking
  • Destruction of the national pay framework which shifts the burden of developing a pay framework onto head teachers and governors who should be focusing on teaching and learning
  • Unfair pension changes which mean working longer for less

Furthermore, teachers have expressed their frustration with excessive and inappropriate testing of children, the introduction of unqualified teachers, and widely criticized changes to the curriculum.

As the Rugby Green Party’s Trade Union Liason Officer I would like to express solidarity with those striking tomorrow on behalf of the local party.

Laurence Goodchild.

Information from the NUT on why they are striking:

Declarations of no confidence in Gove from teaching unions:
ATL: http://bit.ly/1gx4MiT
NAHT: http://ind.pn/1pvvWq2
NASUWT: http://bbc.in/1eJamwx
NUT: http://bit.ly/1dJQwgY

“Why I am striking” from teacherROAR:

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Green Party calls for restraint to avoid armed conflict in Ukraine

Rugby Greens have been active in the local Stop the War Coalition (STWC) for a long time – The Green Party is also represented on the National STWC Committee - please come to the meeting on Tuesday 25th March.
Green Party calls for restraint to avoid armed conflict in Ukraine
 Natalie Bennett says  “The critical call at this point must be for restraint. Russia, Ukraine and all bodies and individuals involved in the situation must take all possible steps to avoid the risk of accidental escalation into violent conflict.
“The Russian Federation must be put under pressure to abide by international law and respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and independence. If it fails to respect international law it must expect diplomatic and economic consequences, and the international community needs to unite in agreeing and implementing those consequences.
“Given recent events, all possible technical support should be given by the international community to the Ukrainian parliament to ensure that it is able to respond to the situation through democratic mechanisms.”
Green Party passes motion on last day of conference:
Noting with grave concern the recent bloodshed in Ukraine, and the incursions by Russian forces into Ukrainian territory, calls on the Green Party executive and, where possible, our elected
representatives, to

* Call on every state involved in the region and beyond to show restraint and not take any steps that would heighten tensions and increase the risk of military conflict

* Call on the Russian Federation to abide by international law and to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence

* Call on Russia and Ukraine to work to ensure that legitimate concerns are addressed through dialogue.

* Call on Russia to respect the rights of anti-war protestors within its borders to conduct peaceful protests without harassment.

* Indicate support for the constitutional majority formed in the Verkhovna Rada, which could provide the basis for the beginning of a national dialogue involving all the democratic components of Ukrainian society, with a view to achieving genuine reconciliation between the

* Call on the Ukrainian Parliament and any incoming government to protect the rights of minorities in the country and the use of minority language.

* Call on the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the OSCE/ODIHR to provide immediate support to the Ukrainian Parliament during the current crisis to support dialogue with the Russian Federation and to ensure that new elections can be held according to the highest standards to produce a fully legitimate result.