Tim Field | 26.04.2004 12:23 | Social Struggles
Since 1996 I have supported hundreds of (now probably more than a thousand) NUT members who all say that their union has refused to provide them with support and access to legal services - and, worryingly, that their paid union official has appeared to act in the interests of their employer and to the detriment of their member.
It seems I have blown the whistle on, amongst other things, the NUT's policy of preferring cosy accommodation with employers - speciously dubbed "partnership" - over fulfilling its legally-binding contractual obligation to members.
Last year NUT general secretary Doug McAvoy sanctioned the spending of an unlimited amount of members' subscriptions on behalf of a former NUT employee on an unwinnable and Pyrrhic libel action against me. The case has been declared confidential within the union, ie NUT members shall know nothing about this legal action or the use to which their subscriptions are being put.
The only way to restore common sense, I believe, is to alert the entire NUT membership and to hold the responsible NUT paid officers publicly accountable. This is where I'd like your support and help to protest to and lobby the NUT officers listed below to let them know - politely and professionally - your disapproval of their actions, that their behaviour brings trade unions into disrepute, and what they should now do to regain the trust and respect of their members and prospective members.
These are some of the issues you might like to embrace in your communication:
Why does the NUT make unlimited funds available to a former NUT employee who is now an LEA personnel officer whilst denying teacher members support and access to legal services in their cases of stress and bullying?
Why is the NUT allocating without limit or restraint members' subscriptions for the pursuit of an unwinnable vindictive vendetta against Tim Field in the form of a civil libel action?
Should not NUT teacher member subscriptions be used for the exclusive benefit of NUT teacher members?
Why does Doug McAvoy appear to want to keep teacher members in the dark by declaring the libel action confidential to everybody in the union below Divisional Secretary (ie only about 60 people out of 300,000 know about the action and how much it is costing)
Why do NUT paid officers simultaneously refuse NUT teacher members legal support in cases where the teacher is losing their career because of libel by their former employer?
Why has Doug McAvoy sanctioned previous vexatious vendettas against those who have attempted to hold NUT paid officers accountable?
What benefit do NUT teacher members derive from such actions?
Why has nobody to date been able to successfully hold NUT paid officers accountable?
Why is Doug McAvoy sanctioning the spending of hundreds of thousands of pounds on a vitriolic advertising campaign in the educational press vilifying fellow trade unions NASUWT and ATL?
Is the pursuit of vendettas a valid and beneficial use of members' subscriptions?
What benefit do NUT members gain from these vendettas?
Why at the same time is Doug McAvoy cutting grants to NUT Local Associations by 330,000 pounds to save money?
Why as a result of the above, and more, is the NUT becoming seen as the least desirable teacher union to join?
Given all the above, are members happy with Doug McAvoy's general secretaryship and where he's taken the once-respected NUT?
As a result of Doug McAvoy's support for the libel action - funded by NUT members but without their knowledge or consent - Tim Field has had to:
close his UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line telephone service (the very service that NUT members used to report the lack of support by NUT paid officers)
cease circulation of Bullying Times, his monthly enewsletter on bullying and related issues
give up training and seminars and thus lose half his business
give up his office and house and downshift as the amount of time and energy needed to defend himself against the NUT-sponsored libel action means he can no longer earn enough income to guarantee to be able to pay the mortgage
deal with the stress of facing possible ruination by the NUT for helping NUT members
NUT officers contact information:
Doug McAvoy: general secretary of the National Union of Teachers since 1989 (you can see the Daily Mail's scathing end-of-term report about Mr McAvoy's opposition to everyone and everything at http://www.bullyonline.org/news/mcavoy.htm although the article doesn't mention the numerous vindictive vendettas or vitriolic advertising campaigns against fellow trade unions, nor Mr McAvoy's "delight that LEA Officers are in membership of the Union" with eponymous contempt for the conflict of interest with teacher members).
Address: Mr Doug McAvoy, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
Tel 0207 388 6191, Fax 0207 387 8458, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dick Boland: regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers and believed to be principal supporter of the claimant in the bringing of the libel action against me.
Address: Mr Dick Boland, Regional Secretary, National Union of Teachers, 14-16 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 4EA
Tel 01444 452073 fax 01444 415095, email email@example.com
Graham Clayton: senior solicitor of Graham Clayton Solicitors, the National Union of Teachers in-house solicitors and solicitor for the claimant. I have yet to hear any NUT member describe these solicitors in positive terms and I now know they have been reported on several occasions to the Law Society for professional negligence.
Address: Graham Clayton, Graham Clayton Solicitors, 14-16 Sussex Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 4EA
Tel 01444 452073, fax 01444 415095, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You may wish to keep writing to these people until you receive satisfactory answers. You may also wish to cc your correspondence to local and national media organisations, your MP, and NUT members who are unlikely to know what their subscriptions are being used for.
Many thanks - with your help I'm sure these good folk can be persuaded to see sense and be encouraged to get back to fulfilling their legally-binding contractual obligations to members.
Tim Field DBA (Hon)
Webmaster, Bully OnLine at www.bullyonline.org
Executive Director, The Field Foundation, www.thefieldfoundation.org
Author - Speaker, Success Unlimited, www.successunlimited.co.uk