Martin Powell-Davies, NEU member
National Education Union (NEU) members took solid strike action before the summer to win both a real-terms’ pay rise and the extra funding to pay for it. The Tories were forced to up their offer – although it was still less than what could, and should, have been won.
One of the key factors in persuading members to accept the final deal was the promise that it was “fully funded”, so that school budgets wouldn’t be hit even harder than they have been already. But the Autumn Statement shows once again that the Tories can’t be trusted. Budgets are going to be cut again. That means more job losses and more children with their needs unmet. There’s also no extra money for the urgent capital spending needed by schools and colleges.
The “School Cuts” website – allowing parents to see how badly their local schools are threatened – has been relaunched. It warns that 92% of mainstream schools face real-terms cuts from April.
The NEU General Secretary Daniel Kebede was right to respond to the Autumn Statement by saying that “more of the same is not good enough” and to demand the investment needed to address pay, workload and building repairs. But with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves making clear that Keir Starmer’s Labour is the “party of economic and fiscal responsibility”, it’s going to take action to win those demands, whoever wins the next general election.
Nominate Sheila Caffrey for NEU VP
Sheila Caffrey, socialist candidate for NEU Vice-President, unlike her rivals on the union’s National Executive, warned that the union was settling for too little over this year’s pay and funding deal. As her letter to NEU districts appealing for nominations says, now “we need a strong leadership that leads from the front showing the power of a national union. We must show our colleagues and pupils that it is worth fighting! That there will be an education system for the next generation. An education system that is fully funded”.
The answer to yet more years of cuts must be to organise the kind of union strength that Sheila stands for. If not, then school and college cuts are going to ruin our children’s education.
The Tory Autumn Statement means cuts to civil service departments and jobs, and attacks on benefit claimants. What is needed is an end to cutbacks and to increase staffing to deliver effective public services for all.
Socialist Party member Marion Lloyd is standing to be the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) as part of the Broad Left Network and on a joint ticket with Independent Left AGS candidate John Moloney.
Whether it’s Tories or Starmer’s Labour in government, Marion and John will campaign for trade union action for a workers’ budget including:
- Halt 66,000 civil service job cuts, invest in local services
- A minimum wage of £15 per hour, plus London weighting
- Protect the triple lock for pensions
- Raise Universal Credit and other benefits to a liveable level
- Tax the super-rich to fund public services
- Nationalise energy, water, rail, banks – people over profits!
Vote Marion Lloyd for PCS general secretary
Vote John Moloney AGS
TUSC prepares fighting platform
Tory Hampshire County Council says: “The government must intervene if we and the whole local government sector are to avoid financial meltdown”. And the Tory Autumn Statement has done nothing to address the crisis.
More than ever we need councillors prepared to stand up to whoever is in power in Westminster – Tories or Labour – to demand the funding our communities need.
In preparation for May’s council elections, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which the Socialist Party is a part of, has announced its core policy platform for any candidate who wants to stand under its banner in the May 2024 elections.
- The core policies can be found in full by visiting tusc.org.uk