The General Teaching Council (GTC) found teacher Adam Walker 'not guilty' of making comments on an Internet forum which were "suggestive of racial and religious intolerance". Two of the teaching Unions (NUT and NASUWT) criticised the Committee's decision.
Neither the NUT or NASUWT sent anyone to the hearing to listen to the evidence and they made their comments prior to the full grounds and reasoning of the Committee decision were published.
The NUT stated:-
"Given what we know of the evidence in the public domain, the outcome of the findings of the GTC is perverse. Teachers are entrusted with a very real responsibility to children, parents, and wider society. We do not believe that a teacher with BNP membership could remain in the classroom without being racist in some way, shape or form".
The NASUWT stated:-
“The idea that a person who signs up to an agenda of racial and religious intolerance can simply leave such beliefs at the school gate and behave in a ‘professional’ manner is risible.”
Our Union, Solidarity, has this to say in response:-
Firstly, the case was not about the Teacher's political membership but about the expression of his views and when and how he did so.
Secondly, no-one claimed that Adam Walker expressed political opinions in the school. Indeed it was accepted that he was an exemplary and hard working teacher. Clearly, despite what the NUT and the NASUWT assert he did remain in the classroom and showed respect to all pupils.
Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington condemned NASUWT and the NUT:-
"The establishment Trade Unions don't get it at all. The case was not about Adam Walkers political views or associations but about his behaviour in the classroom. His Internet comments were expressed under a pseudonym and no details were given of his workplace. Contrary to the NUT's assumption he did not make blanket statements against any ethnic or religious group but rather about immigrants (of whatever race) who committed violent crimes after being afforded the hospitality and protection of our country. He is entitled to express that viewpoint. Even the previous Government reluctantly accepted that Teachers should not be banned for their personal political views so it ill behoves the NUT and NUAWST to try and resurrect a discredited policy. Our Union will resist any such move on Human Rights grounds.''
Once upon a time Trade Unions protected their membership and workers generally by protecting their individual and collective rights. The right not to be persecuted for their beliefs (as apart from professional actions) was at the cornerstone of Trade Unions at the early part of the 20th century. Unfortunately many Trade Union leaderships have become absorbed by the Establishment and will only protect those who views coincide with their own.
We at Solidarity will protect our members on a point of principle regardless of any Party political differences we may have outside the workplace. We caution any employer or public body that seeks to infringe those rights. Go down that road and you will have a fight on your hands.