The National Union of Teachers -- Britain's largest teachers union -- confirmed at its 2012 conference its opposition to an attack on Iran and any western military intervention in the Arab region, and confirms its support for the Stop the War Coalition and its solidarity with the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt.
National Union of Teachers
Solidarity with Egyptian Workers
Policy motion passed at NUT Annual Conference 2012
National Union of Teachers National Executive member Nick Grant in Egypt's Tahrir Square.
1. That millions of people across the Middle East and North Africa continue to be inspired by the “Arab spring” to fight for their democratic rights and social justice, despite brutal state repression and torture, for example in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. We are most recently appalled by the systematic murder of its own citizens and foreign nationals by the Assad regime in Syria, especially around the town of Homs.
2. That despotic regimes such as those in Bahrain and Yemen are heavily funded and armed by the US and other western powers;
3. Conference further notes the involvement of the western powers and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Libya, and expresses its belief that their involvement is principally designed to protect their economic and political interests rather than to promote the welfare of the Libyan people.
Conference reaffirms its solidarity with those fighting for their democratic rights and freedom in these countries.
Conference believes that the struggle for workers’ rights in Egypt deserves our fullest solidarity in the post-Mubarak era of greater civil liberties and democracy. Following the February 2011 uprising a key feature of this new society will be the replacement of state-imposed trade union structures and officials.
Conference notes that in May 2011 the union’s national executive declared full support for the establishment of free and independent trade unions, and that the general secretary visited Cairo to meet some of their representatives in June as part of a delegation from Education International.
Conference also notes that the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions called for a programme of change in September 2011, which included:
(i) A minimum wage of no less than 1500 Egyptian pounds (c.£160) a month and a maximum wage which does not exceed 15 times the minimum, linked to the rate of inflation and price rises;
(ii) Permanent appointment of all categories of fixed-term workers, taking into account years already worked;
(iii) Scrapping the law criminalising protests and strikes, and an end to military tribunals for civilians;
(iv) Immediate implementation of a law on trade union freedoms;
(v) All those involved in corruption must be removed and held to account;
(vi) Reinstatement and financial compensation for all workers who have been arbitrarily sacked;
(vii) Implementation of the law guaranteeing workers a share in company profits.
Conference resolves to encourage solidarity with colleagues in the independent unions - as well as supportive journalists, human rights and democracy activists - who face attacks from government and social forces hostile to their interests, by signing and circulating messages of support, and protesting to the appropriate official quarters.
Conference particularly welcomes the growth of independent teachers' unions in Egypt and resolves to support their struggles to improve working conditions and pay for their members, and to improve the education system in general, by establishing fraternal links and sharing mutual experiences and expertise in policy development and organisational strategy.
Conference instructs the Executive to:
a. Work with other UK trade unionists in the Middle East and North Africa Solidarity Network by affiliating to and working with that organisation;
b. Oppose western military intervention in the Arab region;
c. Reaffirm its support for the Palestine Solidarity campaign and the Stop the War Coalition.
d. Reaffirm NUT policy passed at Conference 2007* that the NUT is opposed to military action or intervention against Iran and to support protests or demonstrations opposing such intervention.