Tens of thousands joined the TUC march this summer- now let’s turn that mood into strikes to win

Strike back to win

Whoever is the prime minister and whoever is education secretary as the new school year gets under way some things are clear.

Unless we fight, our living standards will take a hammering not seen for a generation.

Workload will get even worse, as schools are pushed to cut jobs or even close part of the time as funding falls way behind inflation and they struggle to afford heating bills.

Our students and their families will suffer from that and the catastrophic impact of soaring fuel and food prices.

That’s why we have to organise and fight to win on pay and funding.


For teaching staff, the NEU preliminary ballot, required under union rules, starts on Saturday 24 September. This will be an email internal ballot and will include asking members to confirm their postal address.

We need a massive turn out in this. The postal address check really matters as the full strike ballot set to start after half term has to be to home postal addresses under Tory anti-union laws.

Many districts already have detailed plans- with school meetings, district pay briefings, phone banks.

They have looked at data from previous ballots and targeted key schools and groups of members – aimed at driving up the turn out and building towards beating the 50% turnout threshold in the full strike ballot needed to take strike action.

Everywhere needs to follow these examples- use your local NEU Left to share experiences and discuss the best approaches and reach into every district and as many schools as possible.


The arguments for a fight are simple and clear.

Teachers’ pay has already been cut 20% in real terms in the last decade and now faces an up to 7 percent cut on top this autumn – with inflation already over 12 percent compared with the 5% pay award the government is giving experienced teachers.

We already face a recruitment and retention crisis- with latest figures showing almost a third of teachers who qualified just in 2019 have already left the job. Without a proper pay rise that will get worse and will lead to a worse education for students.

Support staff without whom are schools cannot function also face more pay cuts. They have been offered an average 8%  from next April- still at least a 4 percent pay cut in real terms. 

The NEU is consulting support staff members on this and rightly recommending  rejection in a survey now underway. 

We do not have negotiating rights for support staff- and the unions that do, such as the GMB and Unison are balloting their members too. On our own we may not be able to get a strike for support staff. But we have to show we are ready to fight and press for that.


Worse still the government have made clear that even the pay cuts they are offering all educators are not funded- so schools will have to cut into existing budgets, increasing pressure on jobs and workload even more.

And with fuel and food price soaring schools will struggle to stay open and heat buildings this autumn and winter too- and soaring costs could see school meal cuts which will add the to the real hunger and poverty many of our students and their families face.

The money is there to give us all decent pay rise and to fund schools properly. It’s just going into the wrong pockets at the moment.


Oil companies are making record profits. Exxon Mobil raked in over £12 billion profit in the last 3 months alone. Shell and Chevron pocketed over £10 billion profit between them in the same 3 months and BP grabbed over £ 5 billion profit from January to March this year.

Their profits will have soared even more since, as oil and gas prices have leapt up in recent months.

While families struggle with spiralling food prices, the giant food corporations have never had it so good. Just four combines  – Archer-Daniels-Midland; Bunge ; Cargill, and Dreyfus  (known as the ABCD cartel) control almost 90 percent of world grain trade.

Their profits have gone through the roof in the past year- wth Cargill alone jumping to £140 billion profit  alone. 

There have been strikes this summer by rail work, postal workers, BT workers Felixstowe dockers, Amazon workers and more. All face pay cuts in real terms as well as attacks on jobs and working conditions. And in every case their boss are raking in profits and paying bonanza dividends out to shareholders.

BT made £2 billion profit in the year to March. Royal Mail grabbed £758 million profit and paid out £450 million to shareholders. 

The train companies made £500 million profit between them in the last year.  In the UK Amazon saw profits jump 76 percent to £204 million. 

And CK Hutchison Holdings which runs Felixstowe docks saw profits umps 28 percent to £79 million last year- and paid out £42 million in dividends to shareholders.

Those at the top of business are trousering huge pay rises while telling us we have to have pay cuts. The chief executives of the FTSE 100 biggest companies reported last moth their pay has gone up an average 39 percent- and that doesn’t include massive bonuses on top. 


Enough is enough has been theme of rallies around the country backed by many unions in recent weeks.

That’s spot on. Enough is enough- we have to organise and we have to fight and we have to win.

So get going in your school and district, build the NEU Left in your area to help spread the resistance, link up with others striking and fighting back.

Let’s fight and let’s win – for all our sakes.

Solidarity calling

Burton upon Trent
Stretham, south London
Tower Hamlets, east London

Many NEU members have been out showing solidarity with strikers over the summer- from RMT rail workers to CWU post and BT workers, Felixstowe dockers and more.

All are facing the same toxic combination of inflation, real terms pay cuts, workload and jobs pressures- and all deserve support and solidarity.

More strikes are set for the coming weeks- with CWU postal workers out again 8 and 9 September. Why not get to a picket line near you and see if you can take others from your school or district and get NEU banners to a picket line too?

And why not invite a striker along to your next school or district meeting? We all face the same fight- let’s link the struggles and build the solidarity.

General Secretary election

Daniel Kebede

Nominations need to be made by districts this term for the NEU general secretary election that is taking place after Xmas. The NEU Left, along with many others, is backing DANIEL KEBEDE, who has just completed a year as NEU President and is now back working in school, and urges districts to ensure you have nominations on the agenda for a meeting this term and ask members to vote for your district to nominate Daniel


Please pass this motion in your district to support the Palestine Festival 2023
This district notes the unions ongoing support for the Palestinian people in their fight for justice and freedom from occupation.
Annual conference this year reaffirmed this commitment and also the need to support the call by Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
This district welcomes the work by many lay members to raise awareness and share the work of the union in this area. We welcome the work of lay activists in building for a Palestinian Cultural Festival in the UK in May 2023 to coincide with the Nakba demonstrations in London.
This district agrees to:

  1. Donate *£500 towards the cost of the festival
  2. Publicise the event with members locally
  3. Fund expenses for up to *5 members to attend the Festival
    1. Raise the festival in local trades councils and encourage other trade Union branches to make donations and publicise to their members
  • These figures can be amended

Cuba Education Appeal

This District notes that:
• 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the US blockade of Cuba despite 29 UN General
Assembly votes calling for its termination. The blockade causes shortages across all sectors
in Cuba, including education.
• During the COVID-19 pandemic the blockade added to the suffering and loss of life on the
island by preventing purchase and delivery of vital equipment and medicines to treat
patients and the roll out Cuba’s vaccination programme.
• Despite the blockade, Cuba with some of the best education indicators in Latin America has,
in the year 2000, met all the objectives set by the UNESCO supported Education for All (EFA).
Cuban students and teachers however are frequently forced to make do without many of
the basic necessities that we take for granted.
• In 2021, Oxfam reported that, during the pandemic, the US blockade slowed the use of new
technologies for teaching and forced Cuba to resort to broadcasting daily classes to 1.7
million students on television.
• NEU members who have participated in delegations to Cuba all agree that the blockade is
the fundamental hindrance to educational development in Cuba and results in noticeable
shortages in Cuban classrooms.
This District welcomes:
• ‘Viva La Educación’ joint appeal by the NEU and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign to support
students and teachers in Cuba by raising money for educational and teaching resources.
This District resolves:
• To donate £250/£500/£1,000/(other amount) to the NEU Viva La Educación fundraising
appeal details of which can be found at the following link:
• To encourage members and school groups to contribute to the appeal.
• To submit, as appropriate, motions on this issue to bodies such as Regional Councils, trades
councils and Regional TUCs.

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