NEU Left Bulletin (19-12-23)

Seasonal Solidarity

As this term draws to an end and a well earned rest for all who work and study in schools the record number of local disputes and action ballots we have seen over recent months shows no sign of letting up.

If you do one thing for seasonal greetings make a it a solidarity message to those members on the picket line this week- it really does make a huge difference to those on strike knowing that others have heard about their fight and are standing with them in spirit.

Members were out again this week at Benson Primary in Birmingham agains oppressive management and working conditions. Send messages to: [email protected]

Members were joined on the picket line at South Chingford Foundation school in Waltham Forest this week by NEU General Secretary Daniel Kebede- who joined the Benson primary picket line via zoom link on his phone at the same time too. The fight is over cover, timetables and safety. Send messages to: [email protected] and [email protected]

Members at the three free school Canary Wharf College federation in Tower Hamlets, east London were out last week in a fight over working conditions and management style too. Send messages to [email protected]

Organise to win indicative ballot on funding and pay

The new year will get off to an urgent start as the clock starts ticking down to the launch of the national indicative ballot on funding and pay which starts in February.

If that ballot is successful NEU annual conference at the start of April will then vote on calling a national action ballot which would allow strikes this  school year to win more money for schools and a proper pay rise for educators.

The government’s autumn budget contained not a penny extra for schools- and will herald a new period of austerity over the coming years, and as part of that mor ebelow inflation pay deals for teachers.

The poly crisis gripping our broken schools system is already at breaking point- and the new austerity will tip it over the edge in many areas.

If we don’t fight back we will see more crumbling schools, disastrous collapses in provision for the most vulnerable students, ever growing recruitment and retention crisis, and real job cuts in schools.

The key to winning the indicative ballot is preparing the ground in January. The timeline above is clear and welcome.

In every district and school plans should be put in place to ensure the meetings happen so we can deliver a whopping turnout and a huge yes vote for a fightback.

Palestine- as the horror grows build the movement

Health workers vigil for Palestine at Addenbrokes Hospital in Cambridge
School students in Dorchester walk out and protest for Palestine

The horror in Gaza and the West Bank is getting worse by the day- as the Israeli army, armed and backed by their Western cheerleaders, unleash death and destruction.

That;’s why it is vital we keep up the pressure and build the movement. The last national gem has been followed by a raft of brilliant local protests and the new term kicks of with another day of workplaces action and solidarity on Monday 8 January.

Many schools have done things already- from selfies to cake sales and other fundraising activities for Palestine.  We need more to do the same and find more ways to build the movement in our schools.

And on Saturday 13 January there will be another national demo in London. Let’s make our new year resolution simple- get our district banner and a delegation with it on that march for Palestine.

NEU call for Disabled Members to self identify

The NEU is asking all Disabled Members to self identify to improve organisation and campaigning both locally and nationally to win better rights and conditions.

Please watch and share this video with members locally which explains the issues and how members can self identify (confidentially)  with the union.

NEU Left Bulletin (04-12-23)

Only our strikes last year got us more on pay- learn the lesson

Build the campaign to prepare to win ballots and….

Let’s beat the new austerity plan

The NEU executive met last weekend and has laid out plans for a fight back against the new threat of austerity heralded in the autumn budget.

Schools are already underfunded, many are struggling with crumbling buildings due to the RAAC concrete crisis, most are at breaking point or beyond in trying to provide for the most vulnerable SEND students.

Billions more was needed in education just to deal with these problems. Yet there was not a penny on offer for education from Hunt, Sunak and their government in the budget.

Education spending in the UK is at a miserable 3.9 percent of GDP- way below the 5% average across the OECD industrialised counties, and around half of the 7% plus of GDP countries like Denmark and Sweden spend on education.

No wonder there is a crisis- and now this government is set to make it worse.

On current plans around 90 percent of schools could face cuts as early as next April, and all will face real cuts in the years to follow if we allow the government to impose this new austerity budget.

Pay cuts

Our pay will suffer too- with the budget pointing towards a 1 percent pay award at best next September- another real terms pay cut after those we are still suffering from of the last decade.

The only reason we got the 6.5 percent this year was because we fought and struck- and that’s the lesson we need to learn now.

School funding will be cut, students will suffer, education provision will get worse, our pay will be cut- unless we fight.

And we can’t just sit and wait for a general election. Labour has not promised anything on education funding either. We will only get the funding we need if we fight for it.

The executive agreed to launch a major campaign on funding and pay- with district rallies and briefings in the new year.

Everywhere we need to ensure that happens. Call reps briefings in January, approach parents and heads to set up joint funding rallies and events, hold school meetings.


The NEU will begin an indicative ballot on strikes on funding and pay on 24th February. We need to ensure that is won overwhelmingly and with a massive turnout.

If that happens the NEU executive has agreed to meet and then table a motion to annual conference at Easter triggering a legal strike ballot that would allow strikes this school year – and beyond.

The choice is simple. If we don’t fight educators and students and their families will lose. If we organise, fight and strike we can have a chance of winning.

March for Palestine this Saturday

Every NEU Left supporter and every NEU activist should be on the streets of London if at all possible this Saturday to join the national march for Palestine.

After the brief ceasefire the Israeli state has unleashed a new brutal assault on Gaza which is already killing more on top of the thousands already murdered.

We cannot stand by and stay silent. It is right and good that our union leaders have been speaking at the national marches and that NEU districts have been there with our banners- and taking part too in all the important local protests there have been.

We need even more banners this Saturday and even more activity in every area and school.

As well as marching make sure there is a collection for either Medical Aid for Palestine or the joint NEU/Save the Children appeal in your school before the end of term.

Some areas are holding vigils for the murdered children of Palestine in the coming week. In some areas teach outs are being organised around Palestine.

In some areas university and school students are walking out and demonstrating- and there are many, many more initiatives and activities too.

We should support and build all these initiatives and deepen the movement. Palestine is now the defining political issue of our time-and the left must rise to the challenge.

And if the horror continues we should all stand ready even in the school holidays to make sure we continue to mobilise against the barbarism that Israel and its backers in the US and here in Britain are inflicting on the people of Palestine.

Strike Solidarity

STRIKES WORK: NEU general secretary Daniel Kebede on the picket line recently alongside Connaught School NEU strikers who have won their battle on academy transfer and working conditions.

There are a record number of local NEU strikes this term. The first duty of the left is too ensure that hold union slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all” is real- and we back up the strikes with full solidarity.

The first and simple step is to ensure you send a message of support and solidarity to every strike. This small step really does matter- ask anyone who has been on strike how good it feels to know that others know about your fight and are standing with you when the messages are read out the picket line.

Send us any reports and pictures on the strikes and we will put them in future bulletins.

Rush messages of support to some of the strikes taking place this week:

Canary Wharf College, Tower Hamlets: NEU members at a federation of three schools on the Isle of Dogs in east London are set to strike on Thursday, with more strikes to follow, in a fight over unreasonable management and workload. A parents meeting over 100 strong last week back the NEU members in their fight. Send messages to: [email protected]

Benson Primary School, Birmingham: NEU members will be on strike this Wednesday and Thursday in a fight over working conditions. Send messages to: [email protected]

Notre Dame school, Surrey: NEU members are out for three days this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in a fight over working conditions. Messages to: [email protected]

St Ursula’s Convent school, Greenwich: NEU members on strike for 2 days this week in a fight over victimisation of a union rep. Messages to: [email protected]

St Mary’s School, Cambridge: NEU members at this independent school are on strike this week over the thereat of being forced out of the Teachers Pension Scheme. Messages to [email protected]

Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey, Kent: NEU members are out for three days this week over working conditions. Messages to [email protected]

If you have reports and/or pictures on any strikes you would like us to run please send to [email protected]