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Teachers - which Union are you in & why? Anyone a member of Voice?

(20 Posts)
Grockle Fri 24-Jun-11 10:03:46

I want to change unions but don't know enough about them all to decide which is best for me (other than their current position re pensions which is my reason for wanting to leave my current union)

Donki Fri 24-Jun-11 10:15:33

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.


Grockle Fri 24-Jun-11 10:40:11

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 smile

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!

teacherwith2kids Fri 24-Jun-11 11:10:54


Voice used to be PAT. It is very small, and not exclusive to teachers. It has in the past been regarded as a 'weak' union and certainly has fewer resources than the larger ones.

Grockle Fri 24-Jun-11 11:19:12

ATL always used to be a 'weak' union too. I'm amazed they have joined the NUT in striking next week.

Donki Fri 24-Jun-11 11:21:10

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.

cat64 Fri 24-Jun-11 11:24:34

Message withdrawn

JoleneJoleneJoleneJoleeene Fri 24-Jun-11 11:26:46

I'm amazing the ATL are striking when NASUWT isn't, they are so moderate usually. NUTs come out on stirke for anything.

Grockle Fri 24-Jun-11 11:33:24

Since I have no training for my current position and have had to cry and beg to go on a course this year, I will look into the NUT courses. Thank you

teacherwith2kids Fri 24-Jun-11 11:37:30

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.

cat64 Fri 24-Jun-11 11:46:24

Message withdrawn

jabed Fri 24-Jun-11 21:00:17

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.

mrz Fri 24-Jun-11 23:03:00

I'm in ATL too. I joined the ATL when I was in university (although they were called something else then AMMA? ) because I felt sorry for the rep hmm

Tinuviel Sun 26-Jun-11 18:18:29

I joined AMMA because I knew they were very anti-striking. My mum had been a member for the same reason. It became ATL and kept the same policy so I stayed with them.

As a student I joined NUT and NASUWT as well, but ATL/AMMA sent me the most relevant stuff and one union sent me nothing at all!!

I also feel quite strongly that if ATL are calling for strike action, it is something I should (and in this case do) support. This is the first time in 18 years that they have done so.

Panzee Sun 26-Jun-11 18:26:22

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.

Grockle Sun 26-Jun-11 19:21:25

Thank you very much for the info. I am still undecided so remain in the NUT since I need to be in a union. I will continue researching smile

mummytime Mon 27-Jun-11 15:07:42

As a student I belonged to Voice (along with all the others), I found its magazine seemed aimed at Nursery staff, and irrelevant to me.

piellabakewell Tue 28-Jun-11 00:15:16

ATL have been in the TUC since 1998, donki.

ilovesooty Tue 28-Jun-11 11:46:57

And if you don't want to strike or support a proper union VOICE is where you would surely be best suited.

mrz Tue 28-Jun-11 17:38:49

ATL has a separate section for Head (and school leaders) Association of Managers in Education AMiE donki

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