Delegates to Chelmsford TUC received a report from its Chairman on the recent NUT strike and the well-attended demonstration in the city. The NUT has thanked parents for supporting the strike despite the inconvenience it may have caused. The reasons for the strike included the government-imposed tax changes which have led to real cuts in funding. Delegates were particularly concerned that 10% of teachers in primary schools are non-qualified and agreed that ‘on the job’ training is simply not good enough to produce professional teachers. Long working hours are the norm and the deep concerns regarding the future of their profession had led to 92% of those that voted supporting the day of action. The meeting also noted that the School Teachers’ Review Body has told the Government that an increase in teachers’ pay ’significantly higher than 1%’ is required in order to recruit and retain enough teachers over coming years, but despite this pay will remain at 1%.
Views were expressed that the Chilcott Enquiry had vindicated Jeremy Corbyn’s position on the Iraq War and that of the Trades Council and millions of people who had opposed the war. There was deep concern at the opposition of the Parliamentary Labour Party to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and it was noted that a stall in the High Street is being planned by local Momentum supporters in support of Corbyn and his policies.
The meeting was delighted to hear of the progress of a new Trades Council that is being established to cover Basildon and Thurrock and will be urging trade unionists in the area to give it support.
Delegates also received a report on the recent annual conference of trades council in Sheffield and were pleased to note that our motions supporting ‘Meals on Wheels’ and ‘The People’s Post’ Campaign were both carried.