NEU Left Bulletin (30-06-22)

Fight for Abortion Rights

No return to the backstreets

On the streets against attack on abortion rights in the US

by Jane Bassett, Hackney NEU

The decision of the unelected and reactionary US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade is the biggest attack on the rights of women and other pregnant people to control their own bodies in fifty years. Already, some states in the US have triggered abortion bans, leaving women at risk.

Let’s be clear that this will lead to more deaths from back-street abortions, more harassment of women attending abortion clinics and more attempts to change the law in this country and elsewhere. Bigots and anti-abortionists across the globe will have gained huge confidence and are looking to further restrict our rights.  Our response needs to be huge!

There have been big protests in the US, as well as solidarity demonstrations across the world. These need to continue and grow. It is good there will be legal challenges, that Democrats are challenging the decision, and that some leading employers have committed to supporting employees needing an abortion. But the movement on the streets must build resistance: the outstanding victory of the pro-choice movement in Ireland four years ago was built on a mass campaign by women, LGBT+ people and socialists and trade unionists. 

The decision over Roe v Wade needs to be seen in the context of the right-wing attack on the poor, on black and working-class women, on disabled people and on the LGBT+ community and the rights we have all fought for. Already, there is talk of restricting access to contraception and banning same-sex marriage. 

Enough is enough! As trade unionists in this country we need to support our comrades in the US and elsewhere and be ready to fight off attacks on our rights. In Districts:

  • Affiliate and donate to Abortion Rights ( if you wish use the motion below in your district)
  • Commit to supporting demonstrations and other activities offering solidarity to our sisters internationally and defending abortion rights in this country
  • Work to ensure all our students understand their rights to bodily autonomy

Please sign this petition: 

Motion on Abortion Rights

X NEU condemns the decision of the unelected and reactionary US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.

X NEU notes:

  1. The ruling has already led to some states imposing trigger bans on abortion 
  2. This is a totally unacceptable attack on all woman’s and pregnant people’s rights to bodily autonomy. However, it will hit working class and black women hardest, forcing women back to the backstreets and increasing the risk of harm and death. 
  3. The over-turning of Roe v Wade in the US is an attack on us all and is part of a wider offensive against the gains made by women, trans people and the LGBT community and Disabled people, and on Black Lives Matter

Further notes that the successful campaign for abortion rights in Ireland was built through broad organising at grass-roots level, including among trade unionists.

X NEU resolves to:

  1. Affiliate to Abortion Rights Campaign and to donate £
  2. Commit to supporting demonstrations and other activities aimed at both offering solidarity to our sisters internationally and defending rights to abortion in this country
  3. Campaign for proper education for our students on their rights to bodily autonomy

NEU Left bulletin (27-06-22)

Solidarity with rail strikers

NEU Left members have been out in force as part of the huge expression of solidarity with the RMTrail strikers over the last week from across the trade union and wider social movements. The strikers have struck a chord with millions facing the same kind of attacks on living standards, working conditions and jobs. Listen to RMT general secretary Mick Lynch spelling out why everyone should get behind the rail strikers and why we all need to fight back in his speech at the solidarity rally in London on Saturday:

In the NEU it makes it all the more urgent that we organise and prepare to ballot on pay this autumn. Here is a selection of pictures sent in by NEU Left members form solidarity events across the country over the last week:

Rally at Kings Cross in London last Saturday
Liverpool solidarity rally
Bringing solidarity in Wakefield
Leamington solidarity
Standing together in Bristol
NEU in solidarity in Nottingham
RMT join with barristers on strike this week too

Daniel Kebede for General Secretary

A massive near 200 strong meeting of left activists from across the union last weekend met an overwhelmingly voted to back current NEU president Daniel Kebede as a candidate for NEU General Secretary.

Nominations for the leadership of our union will open in the autumn, with the election to choose a successor to joint general secretaries Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted taking next year.

The NEU Left had agreed to be part of that selection meeting and is now 100 percent backing Daniel in the election.

We will be interviewing Daniel for the NEU Left blog this week and later sharing campaign materials here too- alongside focussing all our efforts on building for the pay ballot we need if we are to defend members’ living standards.

Here is a short video from Daniel in response to government attacks on teachers in the media this week which give you a flavour of the platform on which Daniel will be running- standing up for educators and seeking to mobilise a fight to take on management and government to win real improvements in education and to NEU members lives.

Watch and share the video and look out for more news soon.

NEU Left Bulletin (05-06-22)

Fighting for Disability Equality

Discussion and debate at this year’s NEU Disabled Members Conference

by Paul Phillips (Waltham Forest) and Simon Murch (Sheffield) 

This year’s NEU Disabled Members’ Conference, held just before half term, was all about collectivising for change under the banner DISABILITY! PRIDE! ACTION!. 

The title alone should give heart to many disabled members and reflects a confidence for disabled members, something which has been growing over the past few years. 

Judy Ellerby launched the Disability Equality Toolkit, designed to be used by NEU workplace reps to support disabled members as well as providing information and advice for disabled members themselves. All the resources are based on the social model of disability and are aimed at promoting a collective response to supporting NEU disabled members in the workplace.

On Saturday NEU joint General Secretary Mary Bousted  spoke about her identification as a disabled person. A recommendation to Mary was put from the floor that in the lead up to the pay ballot in the Autumn, a focus should be upon the experience of disabled members having to live during the pay freeze and cost of living crisis. 

She agreed and asked members to collate their experiences and send them in to strengthen the Union’s meetings with the secretary of state. There were workshops on the social model of disability, Long Covid, invisible impairments and reasonable adjustments – again, all aimed at supporting disabled members in the workplace.

On Sunday, motions were debated and motion 3, based on reasonable adjustments, was passed to go to the Annual National conference. 

National President Daniel Kebede, himself a disabled member, issued a call to arms and suggested a fight on three points:

1. Funding, particularly SEND

2. Child poverty. There were 4.3 million children in poverty in Britain even before the pandemic in what is the fifth largest economy in the world.

3. Pay. TAs have lost £4K in real terms since 2010, UPR teachers have lost 22% in the same period.

There IS wealth in this society – energy company profits, fuel costs (penalising disabled people who may not be able to use public transport) but we can see the massively unequal way it is distributed.

This is not a cost-of-living crisis, it is a crisis in greed. Wealth is being extracted from the rest of us into the pockets of the few.

Wewill need to take action to win, starting on 18th June with the TUC We Demand Better demo. Big numbers won’t change the world by themselves but they will build confidence.

After that, unless the STRB recommends 9%, there will be a ballot on 1st October when we need to vote to strike. We acted collectively over Section 44 and we can do the same over pay and funding.It’s time to Value Educators and Value Education!

You can access the Disablity Equality toolkit here: