NEU Left bulletin (211123)

Solidarity in the workplace- staff in some schools have already shown the way

Palestine- build movement in the workplace

Make something happen in your school on UN day of solidarity with Palestine on Wednesday 29th November

The horror in Palestine- cheered on by western governments- has provoked fury and anger on a huge scale – and also seen a magnificent response in protests and demos.

We can’t let up now- and building next Saturday’s national demo is a top priority for every NEU activist.

It has been great to see our national leaders speaking at the protests, and the statements the union has put out have been a real help in mobilising.

Students in some areas have staged walk-outs, protests and marches which have been inspiring- and the NEU should stand in solidarity with students and defend any student who is threatened with disciplinary measures for standing up for Palestine.

And everywhere the NEU should be standing up to make schools safe spaces where the issues around Palestine and the Middle East can be discussed in an educational and professional manner- and oppose all attempts to censor or clamp down on such discussions.

It is vital that unions are visibly seen to be at the heart of the movement.

Thanks to the fantastic work many members have done the NEU presence has become more visible and has grown as the movement has developed- with more banners and delegations on union blocs on marches and protests each week.

And last week’s workplace day of action saw excellent activities in some schools- from collections to collective Ceasefire Now selfies and the like.

But it was only a few schools and there is much work that urgently needs to be done to build and strengthen the movement in our workplaces.

Everywhere we need to fight to get even more banners and delegations onto next Saturday’s demo- to make the union and the NEU even more visible.

But we also need to drive the movement down into the schools.

A good start would be to do a collection- either for Medical Aid for Palestine or the excellent joint NEU/Save the Children appeal.

Print a collection sheet, put your own name with £10 or £20 at the top and go round colleagues asking them to contribute.

This small but vital step is the first in building collective workplace organisation around the Palestine movement.

Can you get some of those who contribute to agree to come and march as a group on the next demo- and if you don’t have  school banner can you get a few people together to make one, perhaps with Palestine colours visible too?

And next time there is a workplace day of action can you get some people together to hold up Ceasefire Now signs, and even better if they agree to do a selfie which can be shared.

These small steps are not easy always- but they are vital if we are to build the movement in the workplace which is the first and principal duty of trade unionists in the coming weeks.

A key focus is the official United Nations “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people” set for next Wednesday 29th November.

That the UN is calling for such a day, and organisations behind the protests here are calling for that day to be one of workplace action gives a real opportunity 

Let’s fight to make something happen in as many schools as possible next Wednesday.

Let’s make sure more schools take part in UN day of solidarity with Palestinian people next week

Victory at Connaught

NEU union members at Connaught School for Girls in Waltham Forest, east London have won a massive victory as the plans for multi-academisation have collapsed. But the battle continues.

After 15 days of strikes since July, the school informed the NEU that Star Academy has decided that it was not in their interests to take over the school.

The announcement came the day after a mass picket at the school which had the NEU general secretary Daniel Kebede present as well as NEU exec members and reps and officials from across London.

The support from the general secretary gave weight to the escalated action that members had asked for. The NEU had just sanctioned four days of strikes per week for three weeks.

The victory is a massive blow to the government’s privatisation of education agenda. Star Academies is one of the favourites of the department for education with a chief executive who is now chair of the confederation of trust schools.

The government would have been confident that it could simply out-muscle a union group and pressure the school into transferring. The odds against a win were high in these circumstances.

However the fight was turned onto the government and with the help of Strike Map and others, 200 people emailed education secretary Gillian Keegan opposing cuts and the transfer.

The government picked a fight with the wrong group and the wrong branch—Waltham Forest NEU.
The issue of changes to the working day have not been resolved. So far on the balance sheet is stopping academisation, no compulsory redundancies and improved conditions.

There are several keys to this win.

The strike breakfast meetings, in which workers had control over the direction of the dispute were very important. So were the escalation of action and the support from the local branch.

The final factor is the war in Gaza. The events of the last few weeks have been the talking point on each of the strike pickets and strike breakfasts and members have been on the demonstrations.

This win should be a sign to every trade union member across the country—fight and you win. The other side is not as powerful as you think or even as powerful as it thinks.

NEU Left Bulletin 01-11-23

Stand up for Palestine

On Saturday 28 October half a million people filled the streets of London and thousands more in cities across the UK and the world to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
This is the biggest demonstration in support of the Palestinians in UK history. This follows two huge protests on the previous Saturdays. Many NEU members were on these marches with their union banners and flags to show their solidarity.
As trade unionists and educators many of us will have watched in horror the events unfolding in Gaza and Palestine. We must condemn all attacks on civilians and we should be calling for an immediate ceasefire.


The Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip over the past three weeks has seen 7,703 Palestinians killed with 66% of these being women and children. Thousands of Palestinians have been reported missing and are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble.
1.4 million people have been forcibly displaced, mass graves are already full, and the UN has reported that there are not enough body-bags in Gaza for the dead.  
About 45% of all housing units in the Gaza strip have been destroyed or damaged since the start of the attack. Public buildings including schools, Mosques and hospitals have been targeted including the Al Ahli hospital where more than 500 Palestinians were killed.
Over 40% of Gaza’s education facilities have been hit since the start of the hostilities including 38 schools which have been destroyed or severely damaged.
Israel has sealed the Gaza Strip completely and cut off all electricity, food, water and fuel from a population of which almost half are children. Vital services, including health and sanitation are being pushed towards collapse.
Hospitals are losing power, some have already been forced to close, and clean water is running out. Since the 21st October 84 trucks carrying food, water and medical supplies have been allowed to enter through the Rafah crossing from Egypt in to Gaza however Israel has refused to allow fuel to be sent in for generators.
This is about 4% of the daily imports in to Gaza prior to the current hostilities. This is a fraction of what is needed following the 22 days of complete siege and will do little to relieve the humanitarian crisis on the ground.


On the 27th October contact with the Gaza strip was cut off following the shutdown of landlines, cellular and internet services. Fragmented information available indicates that following this Gaza was subject to the most intense Israeli airstrikes and artillery since the start of the hostilities.
These acts of collective punishment and indiscriminate killing are prohibited under international law. The Israeli government has said it plans a weeks-long brutal assault on the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million residents, including a ground invasion. Israeli politicians and military leaders are using genocidal language and threats.
Palestinians inside Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem face a lockdown and a growing number have been killed by settlers and military personnel. The unconditional endorsement of the actions by the Israeli government by various national governments including the United States of America and the United Kingdom render them complicit in the actions of the Netanyahu administration and culpable in the outcome.  
The origins of the present bloodshed has its roots firmly in the ongoing denial of the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood through the actions of successive Israeli governments including the expansion of the illegal settlements, the seizure of Palestinian land, erecting roadblocks and the Apartheid Wall.

The NEU has a proud history of standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people recognising their right to self-determination. We know that only through the achievement of the rights of the Palestinian people will a lasting peace be achieved.
We would urge all members to:
1. Contact their MPs asking them to call for an immediate ceasefire and a complete end to the attacks on the Gaza Strip and for the siege on Gaza to be lifted so that water, food, fuel, and medical supplies can reach the population

2. Ask their district to make a donation to MAP Medical Aid for Palestinians: Medical Aid for Palestinians (

3. Attend PSC demonstrations taking trade union banners to show our ongoing solidarity with the Palestinian people

Prepare to Fight on Funding and Pay

This month, on 22nd November, the government will set out its spending plans for the coming year – in the autumn budget statement.

This will make clear what it plans to put into education funding and that will also shape the pay offer it plans for educators next year.

Unless there is a massive increase in school funding above current plans the crisis facing our schools will get worse.

We have already have the £370 mistake in figures announced for next financial year’s school funding. That comes on top of the RAAC concrete crisis, and the crisis of crumbling schools more generally.

SEND funding is at least £3 billion below what is needed to provide the support the most vulnerable students need.

And with inflation eating away at the real value of school funding every month- the scale of the crisis is getting worse.

If we are to see educators ‘pay begin to be restored towards the levels it was back in 2010- since when we have seen over 20% real terms cuts- a major increase in school funding is needed too.

Some London districts have called a rally on funding and pay on 22nd November- this is an excellent initiative. 

And the NEU executive has agreed to decide at its next meeting on 2nd December a timetable for ballots for strike action, unless the government announces adequate funding on 22nd November.

That timetable needs to be one which build the campaign on funding and pay and gets us to the position where we can take national strike action at the earliest possible opportunity.

The key lesson of the fight on pay last year is simple- strikes work and are the only effective way to force this government to pay up.

Back Connaught Battle

NEU General Secretary Daniel Kebede on the Connaught picket line this week

NEU MEMBERS at Connaught School For Girls are currently taking on an ideologically motivated Government who plan to transfer the school to a Multi academy trust – Star academy. Part of the dispute is also to do with the increased workload for students, who will see their lessons increase to 6 per day, have 31 students per class and at same time have 100 minutes LESS contact time with educators. 

Every trade unionist should stand with the Connaught strikers, who were out on strike this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Strike Map are helping support the dispute and have organised a letter you can send using this link

Send messages of support to

[email protected]

[email protected]