Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1149/33074
National Education Union deputy general secretary election
A fighting strategy to win on workload, pay and cuts
Socialist Party members in the NEU
This government left it to the very end of last term to confirm that its 'reward' to teachers for all their relentless hours of work during the pandemic would be to cut their pay!
The Tories want school and college staff, and the communities they support, to foot the bill for their pandemic expenditure through cuts to pay, conditions and education funding. Trade unions must use their collective strength to defeat these attacks.
The successful use of 'Section 44' legislation in January 2021, holding back the unsafe reopening of schools, showed how acting together can force this government back. The National Education Union (NEU) should now be launching an urgent plan of action to build for the union-wide strike action that can defeat these attacks on pay, and win on workload too.
In response to the 'pay freeze', Socialist Party member and candidate for NEU deputy general secretary, Martin Powell-Davies, immediately issued a call for the NEU to launch a union-wide campaign to defend members' pay, bringing together other unions to build joint action, starting with setting a date for a trade-union led national demo against austerity.
Martin has set out a clear strategy to win:
- Urgently convene rallies and meetings to mobilise members
- Campaign in our communities for the funding schools need
- Organise energetically at every level of the union to prepare for - and then win - national ballots for strike action
- Take action to win a claim for a new 'national contract' with:
- The NEU conference claim for a pay rise of at least 7%
- Binding pay scales on all employers
- No performance pay
- Maximum limits on overall working hours
In contrast, when the NEU's national executive met at the start of September, no plan for action was tabled by the leadership.
Weakness only invites aggression. The Tories have now attacked incomes further with the National Insurance increase. This will also add further pressure to already overstretched school and college budgets, threatening more cuts to jobs and resources.
That's why the five Socialist Party members on the NEU national executive, alongside others supporting Martin Powell-Davies' deputy general secretary stand, will be putting forward his fighting strategy at the next national executive.
They have submitted a motion making clear "that it will only be through a massive national campaign and industrial action that the government's attack on our pay can be defeated". It sets out the steps that need to be taken to prepare for a successful ballot, then to take determined action to win our claim next year. The 'NEU Left' majority on the executive will have to decide whether it supports this call, or, once again, finds reasons to delay action.
Teachers in England are one of the only groups of public sector workers to be offered no pay rise at all for 2021-22. They rightly expect their unions to be organising urgently to defeat this attack. This October's election for NEU deputy general secretary gives NEU members an opportunity to elect a union leader who is ready to give the determined lead needed to defend members.
As deputy general secretary, Martin would provide a clear lead from the top, giving members the confidence to act together in their workplace. His election as deputy general secretary would be a clear signal that teachers and support staff want their unions to put words into action and take a decisive stand.
The postal ballot opens on 4 October. Vote for Martin and for a fighting strategy to win! See martin4dgs.co.uk for more
In The Socialist 29 September 2021:
What we think
Black history month
Youth and Students