Categories
Ealing and Northfield

Ealing Council gives teachers’ union £10K

I have blogged about Nick Grant, the branch secretary for the Ealing branch of the teachers’ union NUT, before here.

In a surprising unforced error (see answer to question below) the council has admitted that at a time when every penny counts it has given the NUT an extra £10K worth of Ealing residents’ cash. It seems that when Nick Grant got elected to the NUT’s governing national executive (supported by the Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP) of which he is also a member of its national executive) the council gave him another day a week off for union business. I don’t suppose that it costs much less than £50K to “employ” Mr Grant. So one day a week is the equivalent of a £10K a year bung to the NUT which has absolutely nothing to do with providing services to Ealing residents. On the contrary Grant is in the vanguard of organising strikes in Ealing’s schools.

Mr Grant is not only one of 10, yes 10, SWP supported people on the NUT national executive he is also co-founder of the Anti Academies Alliance. Unaccountably, at a time of high stress, the council is giving this man another £10K to be an extreme left-wing activist.

This unforced error on the part of the administration is yet another illustration of the laziness and lack of attention to detail exhibited by the councillors who are supposed to be in charge. It is customary for such answers, which are formally the answers of the portfolio holders themselves, to be passed to the portfolio holder for approval. In practice the answers are written by officers but if I had seen this answer going over my desk I would simply have asked that the additional information, which was not asked for, was omitted. Their laziness at least allows you to get a glimpse of what is really going on.

Update: Apparently the average teacher union rep on facility time in Ealing costs £76K per annum so the pay rise was more like £15K than £10K.

12 replies on “Ealing Council gives teachers’ union £10K”

Phil,

While clearly this bypasses the constraints on “viration” I am sure that the once-proud possessor of an Ealing Council Pink Recycling bag will have cause to wonder at why he or she is funding direct political activism by Council staff that they employ which is directed at eventually making their services costlier.

Will.

Dear Phil

Glad of your continuing affectionate commentaries.

Just wondering why you have a picture of The Houses of Parliament on your blog cover? Is that where you meet up with fellow union-bashing comrades like Aiden Burley, when he’s not toasting the 3rd Reich in expensive French restaurants. Were you with him on that trip?

Regards

Nick

Nick,

The Parliament picture is a visual reference to national politics which I comment on sometimes. I have never met Burley who is clearly a bit of a wally.

Rather than throwing out silly insults you might engage with the substance of my comments. How do Ealing residents benefit from giving NUT £10K a year worth of your time so that you have more time for your national executive duties? Is this really an appropriate way to spend public funds?

Firstly, two facts just to keep you up to speed and less gaffe-prone….

1. The NUT is not affiliated to any political party. We have no favours to call in from any party in the form of facility time or any other of your pet obsessions.
2. There are 2 members of the SWP on the 46-strong national executive of the NUT. There are many more members of other mainstream parties, and there are plenty of members whom I gladly serve without fear or favour who are even Tory members. The same cross-section of ordinary members vote for me on a bi-ennial basis, so I am confident in my democratic mandate from those members, and I am more recall-able than councillors elected every 4 years. The members, like any sensible person, understand that the SWP is not a terrorist or prohibited organisation, and they vote for me on the basis of my effectiveness as a NUT officer.

in addition…
3. Regarding the public value of union officers I refer you to the TUC’s document at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-20520-f0.cfm
4. On the question of value for money in current public spending I suggest you consider the scandalous waste in the funding of Academy and Free Schools at a time of rising rolls in the majority of schools which badly need those funds: eg
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17870969

Cheers for now… got public service work to do

Nick

Nick,

I didn’t talk about the NUT’s affiliations but I accept what you say.

I talked about 10 SWP supported NUT NEC members as per the Socialist Worker article I linked to above. You talked about 2 SWP members. Are you saying the Socialist Worker article is wrong and there are not 10 members of the NUT NEC that are supported by SWP?

I challenged you to justify the extra day a week allowance given to you because you are on the NEC, not the general principle of facility time (which I disagree with as well). You have not been able to defend the extra NEC allowance – probably because you can’t!

I am a full time teacher (and of course also a taxpayer). In both capacities I am more than happy for Mr Grant to receive facility time, so that as a trade union representative he can consult and represent his members. Bosses and politicians have plenty of time to attend meetings at which to plot how to better exploit workers. In many cases that management time is funded by taxpayers such as myself (and this applies not just in the public sector but also to many parts of the private sector, including banks, which have after all been bailed out from the public purse). Belonging to a trade union is a basic democratic right. But we can only exercise that right if our representatives have paid time to both consult and represent us.

You mean people vote for union representatives, any representatives they like at all and Phil Taylor doesn’t have the right to veto them? Next thing you’ll be telling me is trade union representatives are given sufficient time to represent their members properly, and that might be written into a contract with the employer.

Roobin – taxpayer AND union member.

Roobin,

I am merely pointing out that local teachers vote for a senior member of the SWP. Maybe teachers are all on the extreme left or they merely figure that Nick Grant being a highly motivated activist will work diligently on their behalf or maybe they don’t care about his politics. I certainly don’t criticise teachers’ choice I think it is worth pointing out though. If you feel uncomfortable or angry with that, tough.

Most people find facility time pretty weird. School governors don’t get paid. Scout leaders don’t get paid. Lifeboatmen don’t get paid. I have spent years volunteering for my rowing club without payment. Lots of social organisations are run with volunteers. Why not unions? Why do employers, particularly public service employers, have to pay rows of people to organise strikes?

I am sure you are left with a sense of moral self satisfaction as you leave your Rowing club, Phil, armed with the knowledge that you have made the world a better place and all for free ! However I don’t think you fully understand the complexities of workplace relations in these tough times. Faced with increasing austerity and an undermining of terms and conditions in all work environments Trade Unions perform a vital service in trying to stop a complete erosion of those conditions. Furthermore do you suggest that cases of say sexual harassment in the workplace or disabilty discrimination can be adequately addressed without experienced and competent representatives ? Is it fair for people to face complicated legal issues regarding their employment to deal with the situation unaided ? Should these cases just be discussed in a pub and notes taken on the back of a fag packet? Is this the way Ealing Council conducts itself ? No I suspect not and in reality it is the notion that people should be allowed proper trade union representation at all that you find abhorrent as is the fact that you are clearly unhappy about the fact that Nick Grant is in the Socialist Workers Party, last time I looked we were still living in a democracy so he is entitled to be in whatever party he likes. You are clearly pursuing a political agenda for considerably more than £10k a year, so is being political ok only if its your kind of politics? I suggest you devote your time to more important issues like the crumbling state of Ealing’s infastructure or philosophical quandries like the relevance of Lifeboatmen to Academies.

Rick,

It is not my place to suggest how a union is organised all I am saying is that it seems strange to me that my taxes pay for people to organise strikes so that I don’t get the services I pay for. I am happy that unions exist. I just want their officers to either do the job in their own time or be paid by the union, not me. Call me strange!

Dear Mr Taylor,
I have been a resident in Ealing, ‘on and off’ from the age of five, many moons ago – having moved from East (where I was born) to West London with my parents and now as a parent of three children myself.
On occasions , and on your blogspot, I have lurked, for some time with intrest. (As with many other ‘Ealing-centric’ webpages, out of local interest).
Until now, I have not felt the urgency to comment or contribute – having ‘grazed’ and moved on.
I am not a Conservative supporter, but do find other peoples expressions of thier personal idelology interesting and stimulating.
I wish, I had, in fact, more time to ‘chew the fat’ so as to speak. ( Regretably, I became interested and involved in the politcal process possibly far too late in life).
I respect your commitment to the local community and party of whom you represent. Genuinely, this is not my issue.
However, many of your posts appear to focus on individulals -or rather, thier ideologies -who, due to thier political affiliations seem unfairly ‘targeted’ by you.
In truth – the facts are not quite so simplistic?
Very briefly, many years ago, I met Mr. Grant (who. at that time was the local Ealing Rep. for the NUT) and despite the fact I was not an affiliated member of that union: being at that time, a support assistant; he provided me with very invaluable advice. I may have compromised my own employment security had I not been made aware of my working conditions.
He appeared to be a committed and ethical proffesional, not just in representing Union members, but, to the welfare, future and education of children and young people holisitically. I was quite inspired.
This level of commitment is rare and rather than resorting to the tired sereotyping of ‘The Left’ being ‘etxreme’- harking unappealingly back to the 8o’s London Evening Standard’s worldview of: ‘Reds Under the bed’ – the ‘Peoples Republic of Islington ‘rhetoric, et al -chanelled by you with an almost McArthyism zeal – shouldn’t you, in reality, raise the issue as to, why, in this forthcoming London Election, there have been a rash of far right party canditates standing in Ealing?
What’s going on?
I didn’t even realise that the NF ware still in circulation (having gone the way of all flesh with 18 hole Doc Matin’s and Millwall FC). Perhaps the 80’s have indeed become the predator once more?
I would have thought that rather than relentlesly persuing Union reps and respected activists and thinkers such as Darcus Howe, you are, in fact, ignoring the impending nemesis of all that is: UKIP, who, appear to be spiriting away Tory voters with the alarming regularity of alien abductions. The Truth is out there and it is here.
I hope, not to stay.
Really, the SWP are not your ‘enemies’. Marxist theory is not the bogey man you quite imagine.
It would be rather naive for you or I to perpatuate this.
However, I must add, it is not acceptable either, that the Labour Party have ‘beded -down’ in a haze of comlacency, within the comfort zone of thier ‘safe’ seats AND yet, have not invested in thier electorate (because, let’s face it, they don’t need to) -many of whom have been left to rot in environments of social deprivation and denied the opportunity of positive alternatives.
(I have a neighbour who has to go to bed at nine in the evening, just to conserve gas and electricity. This is shameful).
I would very much like to ‘hear’ your viewpoints.
I really have great affection for this borough –
It’s diversity IS wonderful AND unique and I applaud it.
Sincerely
The Gibson Girl.

“An eye for an eye and all the world shall be blind”

I strongly feel that Nick Grant’s getting 10k from Ealing Council is wholly wrong and seriously compromises his standing against failing Ealing schools. How on Earth is Mr Grant going to defend fairly a teacher against the management of a school paid for by Ealing Council? On which side of the fence will Mr Grant sit? I wonder? Mark

Comments are closed.