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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2021

Four Socialist Party members elected to NEU executive

A thirst for action and a fighting leadership

NEU strikers at Notre Dame in Leeds, 12.2.20, photo Iain Dalton

NEU strikers at Notre Dame in Leeds, 12.2.20, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in NEU

The National Education Union's (NEU) ballot for the national executive election shows a clear thirst for action and a fighting, decisive leadership. Not only did the Socialist Party's current executive member Nicky Downes retain her seat, but three more Socialist Party members will be joining her in September.

Three regions were given the opportunity to vote for a Socialist Party member, calling on the union to fight from the front, while building from below, which allowed Sean McCauley, Sheila Caffrey and Louise Cuffaro to also get elected. In addition, Alex Moore did really well, receiving enough votes to be elected, but missed out due to the gender balance rule within the union. We stood in collaboration with other left-wing candidates from the Education Solidarity Network (ESN).

The Socialist Party stood five candidates who put forward demands such as:

However, these were demands that many others put forward too. What made us, along with other ESN candidates, stand out is that we suggested a programme to actually win our manifesto. We attended hustings, requesting them in many areas which weren't intending to have them, to encourage union members to ask questions and put pressure on the leadership for action.

We pushed for union recognition for support staff in our union, who are currently allowed to join but not to be collectively bargained for. We pointed out the current union strategy of fighting school-by-school on national issues can leave members isolated and reps vulnerable.

Instead, we call for the building of solid national campaigns, by giving reps and local areas the support and training so that we can win national ballots for action. And we put forward the need to talk to other unions and our sixth form sector, which regularly beats legal thresholds, and share their experiences with officers, reps and members. We also outlined fighting to defend supply staff, many of whom haven't even received furlough in the last year, with a proper national campaign and not with just press releases and webinars.

The NEU has been heralded by many in the union movement this last year for its packed online meetings and massive increase in membership, which is boasted about by the current leadership as proof that what they're doing is working. Yet we still have many schools, colleges and nurseries without reps and with many members feeling disenfranchised as they battle individually.

We are proud to have gained 1,688 first preference votes, but the highest turnout for a region was 8.5% of the membership. This shows a long way to go for the NEU to galvanise its membership to become a unified, fighting force.

Our role on the executive will be to build links with those education workers already active and engaged, but also to develop this so all NEU members see a point to fighting in their union and their workplaces. But the union elections don't end there. This autumn, NEU members will also need to elect a new deputy general secretary.

A fighting socialist in this position would ensure the union had the best chance to beat back the government on its constant attacks on education. Socialist Party member Martin Powell-Davies is running as a long-standing union activist and has already received pledges of support from branches and activists across the country. So, if you're a worker in education, get in touch to help us build the campaign for the strongest, active union in education.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
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In The Socialist 5 May 2021:


What we think

Capitalist sleaze and cronyism


Union elections

Unite general secretary election nomination stage

Unison: We need a fighting, democratic, member-led union to stop the austerity attacks

Four Socialist Party members elected to NEU executive - a thirst for action and a fighting leadership


International news

Biden's policies will not solve underlying US crisis

Colombia: Mass trade union-led protests force tax retreat


Mental health

Covid, capitalism and mental health


News

Fight the rotten establishment

Hands off our NHS

New law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse

Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again


Workplace news

St Mungo's strikers fight on

Goodlord strike forces talks - solidarity needed

Sparks block Cardiff building site against deskilling

Vote 'yes' in the PCS DWP ballot

Beal High School strike against sick policy resumes

Go Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

Metroline buses to face summer of strikes unless it drops 'remote sign-on'


Local government

Can the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?


Campaigns news

Bellway must pay! Make our homes safe!

Police attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters

Nottingham NHS pay protest

Establishing factory sales of the Socialist in Leicester

Plaque dedicated to Tony Mulhearn

Why you should join the Socialist Party

Defend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

National Education Union:

triangleRedbridge school walkout over victimised union rep

triangleBeal school strikers suspend action after possible victory

triangleNational Education Union needs a socialist, fighting deputy general secretary

triangleBeal High School strike against sick policy resumes

triangleNews in brief

NEU:

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triangleUnison & PCS conferences Socialist Party fringe meeting

triangleOrganise to oppose Tory academisation plans

triangleElect a socialist leadership to fight for national action and a united campaign

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triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: A report from NSSN conference

Union:

triangleUnite general secretary contest: Vote for Sharon Graham

Martin Powell-Davies:

triangleTeachers demand fighting union strategy

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