NEU Left bulletin 06-02-03

Daniel leading from the front

Get the vote in for Daniel Kebede for NEU General Secretary

This is another really important week for the future of the union and our movement. As we build on last week’s magnificent strike for the regional strikes in a few weeks’ time, ballot papers for the election of a new General Secretary of the NEU will arrive by post at members’ homes this week.

The election matters, a lot. It is about what kind of union we need and want as we move forward in our battle with the government and for the future of education.

Daniel has won the backing of over a 100 NEU districts, a record number, for a simple reason. He stands for the organising, campaigning, fighting union we have seen so powerfully on display in the last few weeks.

He played a crucial role as a national officer in pushing for the strike ballot on pay to be held in the first place- when others did not believe we should hold the ballot or thought we could not beat the thresholds and win.

He has also long championed a battle for a different vision of education, one centred in children and learning and the liberatory potential of education, not the miserable exam factory Ofsted policed dogma we face today.

And he has always stood up on wider social justice issues- from child poverty and challenging racism to raising vital international issues too.

Daniel is now back in the classroom and like thousands of other reps and activists he organised to ensure picket lines took place and there were massive turn outs for last weeks’ strike.

If we want a union that sees the kind of organising in schools that delivered last week’s action- we need Daniel to win. If we want a union that stands up to any government that does not pay educators properly or fund education as it needs- we need Daniel to win. If we want a union where it is members, reps and activists that discuss, shape and decide what our union does – we need Daniel to win.

Current joint general secretary Kevin Courtney has rightly called for strike committees to be launched in every district to make sure it is grassroots members who are driving forward our battle against this government, and those strike committees can also transform our union for the better by ensuring more young teachers, more women, more black and more LGBT+ educators, and more classroom teachers are at the democratic heart of our union.

The alternative is a union that favours cosy chats with politicians over fighting, that sees decisions taken by national officials and officers over the heads of reps and activists.

The NEU Left urges all of its supporters to fight hard to build the vote for Daniel to win as our new general secretary. That means this week:

  1. The election is a POSTAL BALLOT- so if you’re in a school work with the rep, get the list of all members. Start with those who were on the picket line or demos last week, but push beyond that to speak to everyone and check them off once they’ve voted. Keep checking in with them until every vote is counted and in the post.
  2. If you can, call a school meeting to persuade members why the election matters and why they should vote for Daniel.
  3. If you’re a rep, do the same . Chase every vote. Count every one in. Check off until all done.
    Also – liaise with other reps in your area to make sure they’re doing the same.
  4. If you have a District/Branch role. Make sure every rep is doing this. Get membership lists sent to all reps. Make sure they are doing this.
  5. Let’s organise to win this election and give our union the leadership it needs.

NEU Left Bulletin 03-02-23

Strikes show our power.

Now let’s use it to win.

What a day! The 1 February strike was simply an inspiring, magnificent show of solidarity and rebellion, showing members’ determination to fight for better pay and funding for education.

Of course there are many discussions and much organisation to come now, to build on this first step and ensure we win. The key next step is for every district to throw itself into preparing for the regional strikes in a few weeks’ time, and then for the 2 day budget day strike with the national demo in London on 15th March when we will march on the chancellor as he speaks.

If anyone doubted the money was there this week’s announcement of record £30 billion plus profits by oil giant Shell and the 16.5 percent rise in share dividend pay outs by UK companies underlined the key fact- the money is there in the pockets of the rich and big business. We have to force the government to take it from there and put it into education, health, transport and more.

The UCU university lecturers’, PCS civil servants’ and the ALSEF and RMT rail unions also were out on strike last Wednesday. That unity was brilliant- but it could and should have been more unions out. On 15 March budget day every union that can should be out with us and marching on Westminster.

If that doesn’t crack the government we will then face a stark and simple choice. Either we stop- and won’t have won anything. That’s not a good choice. Or we win members to the need to escalate the action to more hard hitting strikes- a difficult choice for sure, and one that won’t be easy, but one that will then be the only way to win- and win we must for our sakes and the future of education.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney has called for every district to throw open ownership of the battle by launching strike committees- with activists and reps from every school coming together to discuss, build and shape the fight. That needs to happen everywhere in the next weeks.

That can ensure the regional strikes and rallies coming up, and the campaign to drive our fight into local communities to win them and parents to actively back our fight, are carried through.

Wednesday was a glimpse of what we can achieve when we fight. The famous words of the poet Shelley summed up the feeling of the day:

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number–
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you–
Ye are many — they are few.

Let’s not go back to sleep and allow the chains that every day crush what education could and should be about to be rebound. Let’s push on, organise and win. Many thanks to all those who sent in pictures- the selection below we hope gives a flavour of the day- and apologies if we accidentally omitted anywhere that sent one in. As the song from the London stage that closed Wednesday’s rally says :

When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun

Solidarity forever!

Why not join us in the NEU Left? Go to and click on the join us tab

London- 40,000 surge through the streets
Scores of picket lines and a 1000 plus rally in Coventry
St Neots Cambridgeshire, huge picket. And then a 2000 strong rally in Cambridge
Wakefield- post picket line refreshments
Wanstead High picket, Redbridge, London
Kevin Courtney joins 300 strong rally in Warwickshire
Thousands march in Liverpool overflowing from rally hall
Sheffield- 29 picket lines then 6000 rally in the city
Huge rally assembling in Oxford
300 rally in Weymouth
600 gather in Canterbury
Picketing in Lowestoft
MP Apsana Begum joined pickets in Poplar, East London
Marching in Chesterfield
8000 in Bristol
Park Hill Primary picket, Birmingham
Primary picket Tower Hamlets
Huge rally in Norwich
Leytonstone school, Waltham Forest
600 rallied in Derby
500 gather in Chelmsford, Essex
Hundreds rallied in Stafford
Massive march in Manchester
200 rally in Bradford
200 rallied in Huddersfield
Hundreds gather in Ealing ready to travel to London demo
One of several gathering point in Tower Hamlets before the London demo
Islington feeder march to London demo- via ASLEF picket at Kings Cross
300 join rally in Newham, east London before marching in London
Queueing for post picket breakfast in Waltham Forest
1970s union drum still going strong at Langdon Park, Tower Hamlets
Mossbourne picket line in Hackney
North Somerset picketing
Hillingdon pickets
Have you seen the picket line….on London’s Drury Lane
Highgate Hill, Islington
Stoke Newington school Hackney
MP Dawn Butler joins Brent picket line
Elmhurst pickets show lesson aim in Newham
Monterey Primary picket in Sheffield
Brighouse Primary , Calderdale
Park view picket, Haringey
Union power in London