“ Address: Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD. Tel +44 (0)207 388 6191. Main trades and industries: teachers. „
I have been a member of the NUT for the past 4 years and would encourage other teachers to join this union. What is the NUT? NUT or the National Union of Teachers is Britain's largest teaching organisation. The NUT offers its members legal and professional support which is of a high quality. The NUT campaigns on behalf of the teaching profession and aims to make teaching a more attractive profession. Benefits of membership There are numerous benefits to joining the NUT, here I will outline some of the benefits that I have enjoyed. As a member you have access to a local representative who you can contact about personal issues relating to teaching. My rep is excellent, he addresses any issues that I raise with a truly professional approach. He gives members his home and work telephone number as well as his e-mail address and therefore he can always be contacted (poor bloke!). The school should also have their own representative who you can contact for advice if appropriate. The Union hold regular local meeting which are rather good for networking if you are into that sort of thing (I'm not!). You are offered legal protection and advice should you ever be unfortunate enough to need it. It also has a Teacher's Benevolance Fund which may be useful if you find that for some reason you cannot work. It provides its members with clear guidelines on various matters of interest to the profession such as maternity rights, guidelines for disabled employees etc. I found the maternity booklet excellent, it covered everything that I needed to know and was clear and easy to read. There is also a booklet produced for Newly Qualified Teachers that offers sound advice for the first year of teaching. The Union has its own magazine, not to be confused with the DFEE publication. This arrives directly to your home a couple of times a year and is a fairly interesting read. As a member you are given a Countdown Card, some
thing that I always forget to use. It allows you discounts on all sorts of goods from furniture stores to country hotels. You are sent a booklet that is specific to the aea where you live and therefore you can make good use of this scheme - if you remember. The NUT also arranges for special deals with a number of insurance companies for their members. In all honesty I have never found the quotes any cheaper than elsewhere. Membership It is easy to join, the Union has its own application form on its website. Or you can write to them at Subscriptions services, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC4 9BR. The cost varies depending on the number of hours worked. For students it is free and there are special rates when you are on maternity leave. You can pay by Direct Debit over a 10 month period. My experience I grudgingly paid my subscription every month but in the last 12 months I have really appreciated being a member. My school has gone through a reorganisation where there was the possibility of redundancies. The local rep kept in close contact with me throughout the process and often he was given much more information on the situation from the LEA than the staff. He guided me through each step of the job application process and protested on behalf of the members at the number of bodies on the interview panel. He worked and continues to work with great determination on behalf of his members and I am pleased to say that it is largely down to him that we all have jobs to go back to in September. The whole situation was very unpleasant yet I felt much more in control due to the expert advice I got from the Union. On the down side you do get quite a bit of paper work from them asking you to back various different protests etc but you do have the choice of binning these! Also you are frequently asked to vote for people who you have never heard of for various posts. My advice is to join the NUT, you never know when you
are going to need them. Thanks for reading.
My ONLY need for joining a union as a teacher was the automatic legal cover that belonging to a union offers. Sad as it may seem, the other reason I joined the NUT above the other unions was that they were cheaper. Big mistake. Since joining, I have been bombarded with an awful lot of junk mail, a lot of it irrelevant to me. I have been invited to meetings that took place yesterday (twice), I have been sent recruiting leaflets for other teachers in my school, and have been asked to vote for new members to the local sub-committee secretariat (what?). The only benefit to me has been the NUT website, which is best described as moderate. The problem with this plus is that you don't even have to be an NUT member to use the site - so why haven't I changed? Complacency. Despite the other unions that I could still join (and now at competitive rates), I can't get the effort to make the change. At the end of the day, I still have the comfort of legal insurance, albiet provided by a disorganised union. They could improve dramatically in three key ways: 1. Provide more support for Newly Qualified Teachers. Nothing was offered. Ever. 2. Cut down on what I see as wholly excessive paperwork and colour posters that are sent to me every week. In this electronic age, surely they could email me the latest news, and supply the colour recruitment posters ON REQUEST. 3. Forge stronger links with the other teaching unions, in order to become a stronger force generally in the media, and also to have greater effect when tackling the Government over teaching issues. In the meantime, you have six months NUT, then I will summon the energy to make that call. A union is defined by unity, not isolation and self-promotion.