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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 November 2009

Socialist Party candidate increases vote in NUT election

Martin Davies at public meeting on lessons of the Lindsey oil refinery strike with Keith Gibson and Jerry Hicks, photo Paul Mattsson

Martin Davies at public meeting on lessons of the Lindsey oil refinery strike with Keith Gibson and Jerry Hicks, photo Paul Mattsson

Lewisham National Union of Teachers (NUT) secretary and Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies received over three thousand first preference votes in the election for NUT vice-president, coming fourth out of six candidates.

Report from Socialist Party Teachers

Supporters and opponents alike have recognised that this was a good performance for a candidate without the backing of any of the main groupings that traditionally dominate national elections in the NUT.

Martin's vote went up from the last election in 2007, despite the turnout falling to a mere 9% of the membership. The campaign secured a higher proportion of the vote in comparison to the number of nominating Local Associations (branches) than any other candidate.

As usual with the transferable vote system used in the election, the main candidates from both the 'left' and 'right' blocs within the union were elected to fill the two vice-president positions. However, Martin's support showed that there is growing frustration at the failure of all sections of the national leadership to adequately defend classroom teachers.

The low turnout shows that many teachers, ground down by continual workload and the bullying regime that has taken hold of too many schools, are questioning whether the union can make a difference.

Yet, where Martin's campaign was able to get a hearing, our call to overcome the isolation of individual school groups by building national action on workload always won support. Our demand has been won at successive NUT annual conferences but is still to be implemented by the nominally 'left' controlled national executive.

With education and public services facing severe attacks after the next election, whoever forms the next government, the NUT leadership will be put to the test like never before. That's why Socialist Party Teachers, along with other supporters of Martin's campaign, will be continuing to campaign for united national action and for determined union leadership, locally and nationally.

We will be campaigning in support of Socialist Teachers Alliance member Kevin Courtney in January's election for NUT deputy general secretary. However, Socialist Party Teachers will also be standing ourselves in next year's elections for the NUT national executive so that we can help give genuine campaigners like Kevin the backing they will need in the national leadership.

Results (first preference votes):

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