Outside the Department for Education on last week’s London strike march
Keep up the fight, organise to win the re-ballot
The NEU strike last week on Thursday 27th April and Tuesday 2nd May closed more schools than ever, according to official government data.
Across England members were out on picket lines again, and on the streets in force at marches and rallies.
In London a fantastic 10,000 strong march also included a minute’s silence outside the Department for Education in protest at Ofsted.
Below is a selection of strike pictures sent in from across the country.
If we are to win the fight for a proper and fully funded pay rise all our focus now needs to turn to win the reballot, required under anti-union laws, and which starts on 15th May.
In a boost to the fight the NASUWT teachers’ union and the NAHT and ASCL heads unions are also set to ballot on strikes- with the NAHT ballot beginning the same day as ours on 15th May.
There can be no complacency on the re-ballot- it will take the same massive organising drive as our first ballot and our strikes have seen to ensure we once again beat the thresholds and extend our mandate.
If we and the other unions do that it will send a clear message to the government that the fight will not go away and that we could all be out together in September.
Call school meetings as a matter of urgency and strike committees in every district and get organising. Use the materials sent by the union, and also the ones in the links below to help.
On 18th May the NEU executive will meet to confirm the dates for the three days of strikes after the exams – so in late June or early July- that our conference voted for under our existing mandate.
Those strikes will take place just as ballot papers are arriving- and they can be a vital tool in winning the reballot.
Alongside rallies and pickets on some of those days we can organise at school level to get the vote out, and on another of the days districts can organise events and mass phone banking to drive up the turn out.
The fight could also be boosted by support staff starting to move towards a fight. At the end of May Unison is starting a national ballot on pay of all local government workers- over a million – including their school support staff.
The NEU executive has already agreed we will ballot our support staff members this term and seek to coordinate that with other unions representing support staff. That needs to go ahead.
With UCU, PCS RMT and ASLEF and the BMA junior doctors still striking too- and the nurses RCN also reballoting- the potential is still there for all of us to beat this government and win on pay and funding- but only if we organise now.
(see picture round up of strikes last week below)
This excellent powerpoint produced by Tower Hamlets NEU is very useful for school meetings:
Wanstead on a High
On the picket line at Wanstead during last week’s national strikes
NEU members at Wanstead High in Redbridge, East London had successfully balloted on strikes in a dispute with management. Last week they met for talks at ACAS and issued this statement afterwards:
“After seven hours of talks at ACAS today, we are pleased to report that there has been significant movement on our 17 demands by the employer. We are currently awaiting for the agreement to be written up. As long as the written agreement genuinely reflects the agreements reached in talks today, we believe we will be in a position to recommend the offer to our members and there would be no need for the strike action to take place.
As soon as we receive the written agreement, we will call a meeting of members to vote on the offer.
WANSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL NEU GROUP”
Many thanks to all the NEU members, school groups and districts that sent message of support to this important fight. On the back of the potential resolution of their school dispute NEU members at the school were out on the picket line in force as they joined the two days of national strikes last week.
NewVic fights on
NEU members at NewVic sixth form college in Newham, east London have been on strike for 12 days and are set to continue for 3 days a week until the end of term.
Members are demanding management improve their internal procedures and stop bullying staff, alongside honouring an agreement from a previous strike in 2022. Separate from the national strike on pay the newvic strike encapsulates many of the other struggles that educators face, from overbearing management, academisation and restructures, to narrowing of the curriculum and management accountability.
Management have upped the stakes by now threatening another restructure and course cuts and redundancies which has further angered the strikers. NEU membership has mushroomed at the college from 88 to 115 over the course of the dispute. Strikers are resolute and fighting a hard battle to win.
Please sign this petition and circulate in your area to show solidarity with this important fight.
From the grassroots up
Last week saw an important development in building networks across different unions from the bottom up.
Over 400 people attended an online meeting on the theme “Build the strikes, link the fights, reject bad deals”.
It was initiated by the Strike Map group, NHS workers say No and Lambeth, Hackney and Tower Hamlets NEU districts in London. It also got backing from the UCU London region.
The meeting heard speakers from members of the doctors BMA. nurses RCN as well as NEU, UCU and others.
The meeting also agreed to back the following model motions (see links)- one is general, one specifically for NEU branches.
And the meeting agreed to develop this initiative with further meetings and activities as well as support other grassroots initiatives such as the Rank and File conference in London on 10 June – which NEU Left is also supporting:
Strike round up