Sheila Caffrey addressing the crowd on the 1 Feb NEU strike. Photo: South West SP
Sheila Caffrey addressing the crowd on the 1 Feb NEU strike. Photo: South West SP

Nominate Sheila Caffrey for Vice-President

Sheila Caffrey says, in a personal capacity

“Even though we all know that the Tories aren’t to be trusted as far as you can throw them, I am still amazed at how low they will stoop!

“They offered nowhere near enough funding this year to cover the 6.5% teachers’ pay offer (a rise that is still well below inflation and has done nothing for the last decade of attacks on our pay and pensions), just enough for next year and nothing extra for all the additional needs we have in our schools, colleges and nurseries. And now they say they made an error and there’s £370 million less.

“This means there’ll be fewer supply teachers, there’ll be ‘natural wastage’, and a higher workload for those remaining. The workers who will bear the brunt of job cuts will be support staff.

“This is not what NEU members voted to accept. Socialist Party members on the NEU national executive argued at the NEC meeting on 12 October that we shouldn’t wait to fight. We should use the union’s existing strike mandate and name strike dates for after half term, if the government doesn’t find this money again. But that was voted against 32-16. Now we will wait for the Tories’ Autumn Statement and then discuss potentially having an indicative ballot after Christmas, on pay and funding for next year.

“The NEC debate made it clear that in the upcoming vice-president elections we need to elect leaders who will give a fighting lead to members – and who are prepared to campaign and fight in the interests of members, no matter who is in government.

“We must show that we won’t accept this lying down. And that we are prepared to campaign nationally, not just fight school by school.” 

  • Nominations for vice-president open 1 November. Sheila and Socialist Party members in the NEU will work alongside anyone who wants to campaign for a fighting union that leads from the front as well as building from below