Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/351/5807
NUT general secretary election candidate says...
'Stop The Pensions Robbery'
ON 7 June the ballot to elect the next general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) opened. Martin Powell-Davies, secretary of Lewisham NUT is challenging in the election from outside the union establishment.
Martin has struck a chord with NUT members who feel let down by a leadership that has failed to stand firm for teachers. If he is elected it will signal a real change at the top of the NUT.
As the campaign opens Martin will be focusing on building the union's campaign against the government's "pensions robbery". Their proposals to force many teachers to work on until 65 to be able to claim a full pension have been met with outrage by NUT members.
While the National Union has been slow to publicise these threats, Martin's campaign has written to every school in England and Wales encouraging teachers to attend the TUC's national pensions demonstration in London on Saturday, 19 June.
After the NUT's Campaign Committee decided to seek support for industrial action over pensions, Martin said: "I welcome the decision to seek the support of other public sector unions for joint industrial action against the pensions robbery. Now NUT members need to vote for a fighting general secretary who is prepared to turn this policy into practice.
"If elected, I would set out a timetable that would build up to a national one-day strike in the autumn term, hopefully together with other unions that are prepared to stand up for their members such as the PCS, the civil servants' union. The union needs to mount a serious campaign to defeat these proposals. I would conduct a "speaking tour", going out to members to explain the threats to pensions and how action can defeat them".
Campaigning in Leicester
"Leicester NUT nominated Martin by an overwhelming majority and made a £350 donation to help fund Martin's campaign.
Andrew Walton, Leicester
Since then, teachers in the Leicester Socialist Party branch have been busy distributing leaflets to staff rooms.
But all Socialist Party members should ask any teachers they know if they are prepared to vote for Martin, or pass on campaign material to their school.
Martin is the only candidate for NUT general secretary who will make the NUT into a fighting union, and is prepared to take the wage of an average teacher. He would campaign against the present damaging regime of SATs, and performance pay.
As a socialist, he will appeal to teachers who are disillusioned with the present leadership and want a change."
For more information or to help in Martin's campaign, see: www.electmartin.org.uk or ring: 07946 445488
In The Socialist 12 June 2004:
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis