A new trade union aimed at teachers in primary and secondary schools who have become uncomfortable with the National Union of Teachers is to be launched. The new union, NAHT Edge aims to recruit 5,000 members within two or three years and will act as a sister union to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which represents about 28,000 heads.
I have always looked upon the Teaching profession as having too many trade unions already yet I can understand why a new one is being created.
It all goes back to the way public sector trade unions, in particular, operate and the fact that they can often be led by people who have a bigger political agenda than the terms and conditions of their members.
Active trade unionists and particularly trade union leaders have always seen a wider picture than their ordinary members have. This means that at times the members of trade unions get used to fight big social and political battles that mean so much to trade union executive committees but are of little, if any, interest to their members.
I would not be surprised if some of the wider political and indeed party political objectives of the NUT’s leaders are beyond what some of its members want to be a part of fighting for.
Such battles and rivalries are a long tradition of the trade union movement, which I worked for for 30 odd years, but when the members are being taken where they do not want to go the cause of the activists is already lost. Sticking to the real issues, as seen by the ordinary members of a trade union, is the key but the activists are all too keen to pull away from these to bash the Government of the day. When that goes too far the members simply turn off and potentially walk away.
With thanks to the LGiU