Enthusiasm among NEU members for a pay fight

As teachers’ pay ballot starts..


The NEU online pay ballot for teachers got off to a flying start at 10:30am last Saturday.

In fact so many members tried to vote straight away that the system temporarily overloaded.

Within twenty four hours an astonishing 70,000 members had voted and we had passed the 28% turnout mark we reached in the January survey – the last time we did a national survey.

Thousands of members have also enlisted as volunteers. to help us organise and win this and the formal postal pay action ballot that will follow.

The scale of this response reflects the mood of anger amongst teachers at the 5 percent pay award and also the growing confidence inside the trade union movement that we can mount a challenge to the government’s fiscal policy.

The launch of the teacher ballot has also boosted turnout amongst support staff members – who we are also surveying about their pay offer. 

Enthusiasm amongst NEU school reps for the pay fight is evident – unusually  for the weekend NEU reps WhatsApp groups were buzzing with news and requests for information. 

The online ballot closes on 14 October and it is crucial that we use that time to organise in schools and Districts to smash through the 50 percent threshold and at the same time prepare for the formal ballot which will open after half-term.

Already we can see a clear link between the turnout and school reps attending briefings and holding school meetings – this effort must be intensified as we move to the formal ballot.

The current ballot is also a huge opportunity to build the NEU and shift the debate in every school. 

Where activists have reached out to members  and non-members to support our campaign we have recruited.  

We should be asking every member of staff in our schools to support the campaign, by voting, encouraging others to support the campaign or joining our union to get a say in the biggest education ballot for a generation.

We are living through turbulent times but the response from members should give us all confidence that we will be part of the fightback.

Stand shoulder to shoulder to win this fight

Union’s standing together can strengthen fight

NEU Left steering committee member and Coventry NEU president Jodie Mallier-Ridlelyspoke to a joint unions rally in Coventry last Saturday as our teacher pay ballot got underway. This was her message:

“I am delighted to speak here today. This rally is quite timely for the NEU as today we have opened our indicative ballot for teachers, asking if we accept or reject the poor, below inflation and quite frankly, insulting 5% pay offer made to us by the government. 

Like many other sectors, we have faced real terms pay cuts for the last twelve years. Last year we were awarded 0%. 0%! That felt like a kick in the teeth. 

After everything public sector workers did during the pandemic, where is the respect? Our members have been advised to reject the offer and vote yes for strike action if we do not receive a better offer which at the very least, matches inflation. The ballot opened at 10.30 and within minutes the system was overloaded as so many people were trying to vote!

We are also balloting support staff members, who have been presented with a derisory pay offer. Teaching assistants are already poorly paid, and deserve to be recognised properly for the work that they do to support students.

To add insult to injury, schools are being expected to cover pay rises from existing budgets. This will lead to even more cuts in resources and support for our neediest pupils. We already see a shortage of teachers – this will only get worse unless we fight it.

Teachers in Scotland are already leading the way. They were also offered 5%, but 94% of EIS members voted in an online ballot to reject it, and 90% said that they would be willing to strike. These figures are achievable here too, and fill us with hope!

Our government have time and time again shown us what they really value, and it is not us. Their biggest achievement seems to be the increased number of foodbanks and creaming off as much money as possible to maximise private profits. 

It is time to say that we have had enough.

We have a clear message for this government – How dare you? 

How dare you prioritise energy profits and expect ordinary working people to make cuts and sacrifices? How dare you continue to fill the deep pockets of billionaires whilst over two million people have to resort to using foodbanks? How dare you wilfully make us poorer and rip apart our public services? 

This is the biggest squeeze in living standards in over 200 years, no wonder people are terrified. But the positive and exciting thing is that workers up and down the country are standing up, refusing to accept it and organising to fight back. 

In the NEU we have been inspired by members of the RMT, CWU and close to home, the UNITE bin lorry drivers. We are now ready and excited to be a part of this movement for change too. We need mass rallies, demonstrations and co-ordinated action.

Let’s back each other, stand shoulder to shoulder and push for all workers to get the pay rise we deserve. 

Stand up to Racism

International anti-racist conference Saturday 15 October

The Stand up too Racism International Conference is now just under one month away, with hundreds already booked up.

The conference will not only draw together activists and campaigners and the experience of the anti racist and anti fascist movements across the world, but it will also discuss how we can ensure that we don’t let them divide us, that our movement organises to challenge the politics of divide and rule.

The conference will run (10am registration) 11am to 5pm, with four consecutive running social forum style sessions

Session one: 

From Child Q to Chris Kaba, Resisting Institutional Racism

Session two: 

#StopRwanda offshoring, Opposing the Racist Hostile Environment #AllRefugeesWelcome 

Session three:

Cost of Living Crisis, Unity and Solidarity – Don’t Let The Racists Divide Us

Session four:

How Do We Stop the Racist and Fascist Right – No to Hate and Division

Anti racists from across Britain and the world will converge in central London (and the conference will run as a hybrid with online access to participate) to discuss action, strategy and ideas for building the growing movement against racism. Confirmed speakers so far include:

Kevin Courtney National Education Union General Secretary; Shami Chakrabarti former Shadow Attorney General and human rights activist; Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP; Jermain Jackman winner of the Voice 2014; Dawn Butler MP; Wilf Sullivan TUC Race Equality Officer; Sarah Woolley BFAWU General Secretary; Clare Moseley founder of Care4Calais; Michael Holding international cricketer and author; Birdgirl (Dr. Mya-Rose Craig) ornithologist and climate activist; David Rosenberg Jewish Socialist Group; Chantelle Lunt Merseyside BLM; Juliana Ojinnaka UCU Black Members Committee Chair; Ryan Colaço campaigner against police brutality; Denis Goddard French antiracist activist; Cathy Pound Searchlight; Talha Ahmad Muslim Council of Britain; Mohammed Kozbar Muslim Association of Britain; Paula Peters Disabled People Against Cuts; Trevor Ngwane South African anti apartheid and environmental campaigner

Book your place today:


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