Grockle The main differences are 1) the NUT only admits teachers as members, the ATL and Voice allow support staff to join. (I can't remember what NASUWT does) 2) I'm not entirely sure, but I think that the ATL don't allow head teachers to be members - but the NUT does. 3) ATL can only advise you to strike - there is a conscience clause. 4) The NUT/NASUWT cannot actually make you strike - as the NUT's letter to me makes very clear. They are asking me to strike. 5) The NUT is a member of the TUC. Voice and ATL aren't 6) NUT and ATL run CPD courses - some of which are VERY good. (I don't know about the NASUWT)
The main differences IME aren't down to the union policies, but to the workplace rep, branch secretary and regional sec. Also in some schools, one or two unions predominate, and this means that if a teacher is unhappy with SMT for a good reason, you will get more support if you belong to one of those unions.
The effectiveness of local reps has been my main reason for changing unions in the past.
Thanks Donki. I realised that posting this on a Friday morning, when most teachers will be at work, was not the best time so am glad you responded
Does being a member of the TUC make a difference?
I'm in my current union because that's what most staff were in but it seems to be a fairly even spread between NASUWT and NUT now and we have no reps in school. I have no idea about reps in the area. I'd never heard of Voice til very recently.
I had no idea some unions ran courses... I should investigate further!
Membership of the TUC? Makes little/no difference in everyday life (it certainly wasn't a reason why I joined the NUT) It might depend on how you felt politically about the trades union movement and the labour movement generally. If you were of a more centre or right persuasion, it might be a reason NOT to join the NUT
No reps in school might well be why you have not heard about the NUT courses... they rely on members/reps to publicise them.
When I was a supply teacher, the NUT was the only place I could find affordable, relevant, excellent quality CPD. It is not subject specialist training - they do a lot of stuff for IT, special needs, behaviour management etc.
Just to clarify - I did not mean 'weak' to equate to 'moderate'. ATL is traditionally a moderate union, as is PAT / Voice.
What I meant by a 'weak' union was one with relatively few resources to stand up strongly and forcefully for its members' interests and without the 'clout' to negotiate strongly for them in collective negotiations.
I am ATL too. I think we are all pretty amazed that they have voted to strike somehow. My reason for being in ATL? Joined one of its contributing unions when younger and stayed with it. It was useful because it is the only union that represents both in Colleges universities and schools and I have moved between the three.
Fortunately the stike will happen after school breaks up next week so I dont have to join in.
My inlaws joined Voice when it was the PAT because they were sick of the strikes in the 80s. It's traditionally a 'non-striking' union.
I joined the NUT for a few reasons: 1) I feel quite strongly that teachers only should be in a teaching union, 2) when I was researching who to join the ATL had a conference where they moved that teen girls' magazines encouraged sex and should be banned and 3) the first school I worked in had mostly NUT members.