NEU Left Bulletin (02-12-22)

The key message

Fight for every vote to beat strike thresholds

With two weeks until the end of term the fight is on to ensure our ballots beat the legal strike thresholds so we can  join the pay revolt.

We need 50 percent plus of members voting. Though the ballots have had a good start all the  indications from the union’s dashboards of members who have confirmed they have voted say we have a lot still to do- and not much time.

The postal strikes – which we support of course- will delay post so we have to push hard to get votes in over the coming days.

The 16 December is the last day when members can ask for a replacement ballot if one hasn’t arrived or they can’t find it.

Reports from around the country suggest many members still have ballot papers in their school bags or at home unposted- as when districts and reps have done phone rounds or gone round school they find people in both categories and then get more votes in.

Nothing can be left to chance now- every activist has to single-mindedly and immediately fight for every single vote.

There are plans for all the different groups of workers with strike mandates to come out together in 1 February. That would be powerful show of strength from huge numbers of workers. Imagine if we fell a few votes short and were’t able to join that. 

So fight for every vote and let’s make that huge strike just the start of our fight to win a fully funded above inflation pay rise for all in education.

  • The union centrally is targeting those who we know voted in our indicative online ballot but who have not yet confirmed their vote in the strike ballot.
  • Districts should be phoning reps and target schools to push for votes- or if members haven’t got a ballot paper get them to order one.
  • These phone rounds need to happen this week – where district have done them already they have had real success adding to the pile  of votes. 
  • And if your district has already done this then do it again, and again- keep going relentlessly and single-mindedly
  • Talk especially to reps and members in key schools where there is the possibility to significantly drive up the turn out.
  • Every time we talk to a rep and every time a rep goes round school it gets more votes in.
  • If people don’t agree with striking- there are some- tell them to vote no but send their vote in- it is the turn out that matters – we will win the Yes vote.
  • The union is asking people to hold school meetings on Tuesday 6th December- a Big School Workplace Meeting- to drive up the turn out.

Leave no stone unturned, hunt down every member who hasn’t confirmed their vote, and nag them relentlessly. We simply have to get the turn out over 50 percent  

We can do that- but only if every activist acts and acts now.

Sixth form teachers strike alongside university lecturers and postal workers

Around 4000 NEU members in 77 sixth form colleges struck last week on the first of their strikes over pay. They were out the same day as 70,000 UCU members in universities and 115,000 CWU members in Royal Mail. Below is a video of the speech NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney gave at the UCU strike rally in London, attended by sixth form strikers. The video also has interviews with sixth form strikers from Hackney. And many thanks to NEU Left supporters who sent in pictures of sixth form picket lines and rallies – which we show below too.

Sxith form striker speak out and Kevin Courtney speak to UCU London strike rally
Pontefract strike rally
NewVic in Newham, East London
Waltham Forest, east London
Jeremy Corbyn speaks to sixth form pickets in Islington, north London

Solidarity with Sudanese teachers’ strikes

Striking back in Sudan

Sudanese teachers struck last week in a battle for investment in schools so that all children can access education for free, to reform the curriculum after decades of dictatorship, and for decent pay and working conditions for educators.

The strike is being organised by the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee. They have created ‘escalation committees’ and ‘strike committees’ in provinces across the country, mobilising demonstrations to build up momentum for the strike.

At the same time they are resisting the military coup which took place in October 2021. Teachers were among the first groups of trade unionists to take to the streets after the coup. The military government is trying to stop them organising independent unions by trying to revive the fake government-controlled unions of the old dictator, Omar al-Bashir.