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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 March 2018

NEU conference 2018: Strike to take on the Tories

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo James Ivens

Pickets at Avenue School, 14.12.17, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

James Kerr, Lewisham NEU

The National Education Union (NEU) conference (NUT section) will see the union at a crossroads.

We must judge the success on the conditions of our members in the classroom. I'm sure if you ask any serving teacher if their working life has seen improvement you'll get a curt response.

Teachers are leaving in droves, funding cuts are exacerbating the crisis and the testing regime is causing extreme anxiety for the children we teach. Our leadership's lack of a serious strategy and a willingness to follow it through has led us to this point - weakness invites aggression. Let's not forget that two years ago we voted for a programme of discontinuous strike action and ended up with a one-day strike.

The recent advice on workload shows the government feels under pressure to respond but we've heard this before. Unless there is legislative change and new money to back it up, workload will continue to drive people out of the profession. That kind of change will only be achieved if we're willing to fight for it.

There are opportunities on the conference agenda to instruct the executive to launch the kind of action necessary. Many will argue that national strike action is not possible now under the Trade Union Act. But the Communication Workers Union and University and College Union have already shown that it's possible to defeat these undemocratic voting thresholds, providing there is a serious, well-prepared campaign with fighting demands.

This is all connected to the need to fight for a healthy democratic culture in the new union. The Socialist Party warned at the special conference in 2016, that there were potential dangers contained within the new structures of the NEU. Some of these warnings have proved correct and members will need to stay vigilant to ensure the union serves us.

The current wave of local strikes by our members, particularly in London, shows what can be done when members organise and a lead is given.

This is a critical time for our schools and our movement. We can't just wait for a Labour government and see more people driven out of teaching. We need a bold, fighting and democratic union to take it to the Tories.

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In The Socialist 28 March 2018:


What we think

Antisemitism slurs: latest attempt to derail Corbynism


Socialist Party workplace news

NEU conference 2018: Strike to take on the Tories

UCU: Strike action forces bosses to retreat but keep the pressure on

NHS pay: Reject the Tories' divide and rule offer

British Museum: Carillion workers demand to be brought back in-house

Victimised recycling strikers uncowed as Hull strike wave builds

Liverpool Uni staff set to fight 220 job losses

Aberdeen bus drivers strike against pay cuts

Migrant cleaners win living wage at Mail


Local elections 2018

For Whom the School Bell Tolls: Our kids or the Tories?

Southampton asks "What will you do to stop education cuts?"

Campaign against Newham academies boosted by victories

Save Free School Meals!


Martin Luther King

The life and legacy of Martin Luther King


Socialist Party news and analysis

Grenfell: survivors not rehoused, inquiry not independent, blocks not safe

Walkout from undercover policing inquiry


Social media

Social media - the potential and the limits


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tories fear youth revolt - fight for our future

Goldsmiths students occupy and protest in support of UCU strikers

Walthamstow Save Our Square protesters thrown out of city hall for demanding a say

Northern Socialist Party conference

North West Socialist Party conference

Building fund appeal

Bristol Socialist Students join Yarlswood demo

May Day greetings: Lend your support to the fight against the bosses


International socialist news and analysis

France: Pressure mounts on Macron government

USA: Huge 'march for our lives' protests

Russia's predictable presidential election


 

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NUT:

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