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Martin Powell-Davies

for NEU Deputy General Secretary


Martin explains his manifesto to win change for educators and education in Wales – prepared for a hustings hosted by Caerphilly NEU – read more here


Martin sets out why he is seeking nominations to stand as NEU Deputy General Secretary (with thanks to Hammersmith and Fulham NEU)

Leading from the front, building from below

A DGS who measures up to the challenges ahead

Why Martin for DGS?


I am standing to be NEU Deputy General Secretary because our Union needs clear and determined leadership if we are going to withstand the serious challenges ahead of us. 

More than any other DGS candidate, I believe that I have the  skills, experience, and campaigning record that can make us a stronger team.

Years of funding cuts, pressure from Ofsted/Estyn and ‘exam factory’ conditions have already taken their toll. Now teachers and support staff face further attacks from a Government hoping to make us pay for their failures.

As DGS, I will work to build a Union that has the confidence, strength and organisation to defend the pay, jobs, safety and working conditions of education staff and, in doing so, defends education as whole.

Use union strength to defend staff and community safety.

Throughout the pandemic, I have consistently provided analysis explaining why we need to use our collective strength to defend safety.

The successful use of Section 44 in January showed what could be done when a clear national lead is given, giving confidence to members to act together. I will be a DGS that calls and organises for that collective approach to be followed in future too.

Oct 2012 banner

We must be a Union whose demands cannot be ignored


Where do the main differences lie in this election? 

Every candidate will propose changes that could improve our conditions, and pupils’ learning conditions. But the key question is, how can they be won?

The NEU has not been slow to make demands. Our problem has been that they have too often been ignored by employers and Ministers:

We need a clear national strategy. My ten campaign points set out what we need to organise and win.

A genuinely ‘lay-led’ democratic union.

Many are concerned that the Union is becoming too ‘top-down’ in its decision-making. I’ll be a DGS that says we must be “a lay-led Union” in practice, not just on paper.

I will strengthen our efforts to have trained, confident reps in every workplace, but I also know that reps need well-supported Districts to back them up. We need to better defend NEU Reps and Local Officers and their rights to facility time.

I will be a DGS that works to bring our union together in our workplace groups, Districts and Branches – alongside NEU staff  – with a belief that we can, and must, succeed in winning our demands.

A Deputy General Secretary you can trust to turn words into action

22 03 15

As a member of the NUT National Executive from 2010-15 and then as a successful NEU London Regional Secretary from 2016-19, I have worked within the Union at its highest levels.

I also have long experience of working at a local and workplace level too.

As Lewisham NUT Secretary for over 20 years,  I doubled local membership and supported hundreds of colleagues. I have organised many successful campaigns, opposing cuts and academisation, defending pay, jobs and workload, challenging racism.

I am still a teacher and local NEU officer today, now in the North-West, experiencing the pressures on members at first hand. I am regularly invited to put our case across to the press and media. 

The clear, determined leadership we need.

In short, my record shows that I can be a DGS that you can rely on to provide clear leadership.

I will listen and consult, keeping up a dialogue with Reps and Local Officers.

I will be a DGS that proudly builds our Union, that works as a full part of the NEU leadership team – as I did as Regional Secretary – but I will also be a DGS of independent mind, ready to question decisions and speak out when necessary. 

MPD on march

A DGS who will work with you to win

1. Action to protect the health, safety and welfare of staff and our communities from Covid-19. Don’t leave members to fight alone, co-ordinate action to win Union demands.

2. End excessive workload, and end the high stakes testing that drives so much of it. Win a National Contract for all staff that sets a genuine limit on overall working hours, not just teachers’ ‘directed time’.

3. A Union that builds workplace strength that ensures we are a force to be reckoned with. 

Launch union-wide training for NEU reps and officers on how to successfully win collectively. 

4. A Union that supports NEU reps and officers to defend members, individually and collectively. 

Improve our strategies for organising, recruiting and training reps, and advising our caseworkers.

5. No to a pay freeze. No to cuts, fund schools and colleges to fully meet needs. 

Bring the public sector unions together to defend members’ incomes, conditions and jobs.

6. Reverse the privatisation of education.            Oppose academisation. Campaign for LA supply pools.    Return all schools to democratic local control,      staffed under nationally agreed pay & conditions.

7. A Union leading the battle against discrimination and inequality in schools and communities. End Performance Pay. Educate and organise against racism, sexism, disability discrimination and LGBT+ oppression.

8. A Union that recruits, organises and fully represents all education workers working in our schools and colleges. Win negotiating rights for support staff colleagues. Provide supply staff with the support they need, including a sector seat on the NEC.

9. A genuinely democratic union where members are ‘listened to’, not just ‘talked at’. 

Build a vibrant inclusive union that values its staff but is led by its elected representatives, its National Executive members, local officers and workplace reps.

10. A campaigning, socialist, Deputy General Secretary who stays in touch with the problems that members are facing. I will be listening to you.

I will not accept more than a teacher’s salary for carrying out my role.

Latest nominations and endorsements

Speaking up for education

18th May 2021

Organise to oppose Williamson’s academisation plans

Martin warns that this Government still plans to push further towards doing away entirely with  democratic local control over education through elected Local Authorities.

Download Martin’s leaflet seting out five clear reasons to oppose academy transfer here:

Martin responds immediately on LBC to Boris Johnson ignoring his own scientific advisers and changing policy on face coverings in schools

10th May 2021
27th April 2021


Martin writes on why the Union needs to campaign for a limit on overall working hours – not just teachers’ directed time.

Download Martin’s leaflet on the need for a new strategy to win on workload here:

No educator takes strike action lightly but NEU members are having to do so, to protect education,  their conditions and to defend victimised reps. I send solidarity to all taking action. 

Martin speaks at the West Essex NEU DGS Hustings:

Listen to Martin's five minute introduction as to why he is standing:

NEU Conference 2021: 
Martin writes on why he was proposing Motion 14 on a ‘National Contract for Education’ 
9th April 2021

Martin speaks on Williamson's plans to worsen our workload - and calls for a National Contract for all:

Martin speaks up on BBC News to explain why the NEU are calling for a phased return

Martin standing firm for NEU policy on the Nick Ferrari Show on LBC, 1st March 2021

Martin responds to Johnson's announcement of a reckless full school return in England

Martin appearing on The Union Hack, January 24, 2021 - How to win a dispute

Martin appearing on RT, 5th January 2021 discussing the government U-turn

LBC, 25th November 2020 discussing Covid in schools
LBC, 18th August 2020 debating the Exam Grading U turn
Martin appearing on RT, 5th June 2020 discussing school re-opening
LBC, 2nd May 2020 discussing the NEU '5 Tests'

Further reading

How reliable are Lateral Flow Tests at detecting cases in our schools? – an analysis of the evidence
March  21 2021
Defend the Right to Protest, Oppose Sexual Harassment  – a response to events in Clapham
March  14 2021

“Trade unions have always relied on protest to defend our members from inequality and injustice.

Unions have also been at the heart of many of the gains won by women against the sexism and oppression inherent in our society.“.

NEU reps and members should use this advice to explain to their employer why they must abide by NEU checklists.

If these measures are not met, then NEU Executive policy states clearly that the Union will support branch officers, reps and members to:  

“support workplace groups, employer groups and LA branches in using collective action to seek a staggered reopening, based on local case rates and the scientific advice”

* “use the new checklist materials – with the threat of industrial action and the potential use of Section 44 under advice from the union”

Summary of NEU, Legal & SAGE  advice 
To assist reps and Local Officers negotiating for a safe, phased return with reduced class sizes and other mitigations in line with the NEU checklists
28th February 2021
A new ‘5 Tests’ to avoid an unsafe, unprepared, premature school  opening -summarising the advice from SAGE, PHE, Independent SAGE and the CDC
15th February 2021
Don’t draw the wrong conclusion from ONS data –  do not rush to fully open schools
1st February 2021

“I am standing as DGS to be a voice at Union HQ that will seek to counter a growing tendency to centralise and impose policy from the top, without sufficiently consulting local activists and listening to the concerns of members.

A “lay-led Union” cannot just  be a slogan. The National Union needs to make sure it is the reality”

Questions to a DGS candidate – Union Democracy, School Safety, Honoraria, Facility Time, International Solidarity
29th January 2021
The Help a Child to Learn “Big Announcement” – lessons to be learned
27th January 2021
Take Action to ‘Insist on the Checklist’ – and to ‘Make Early Years Safe’
18th January 2021
Why consenting to LFT tests instead of self-isolation risks making matters worse
13th January 2021
Act together to oppose unsafe numbers and rising workload in the workplace
11th January 2021
Staff and unions force Johnson’s hand over school safety
5th January 2021

“Events over the last 24 hours have shown just what can be achieved when a lead is given.

In the face of trade union pressure,  as well as the ever-growing health crisis, Boris Johnson was forced to shift from his dangerous insistence that “schools are safe” into admitting that they were in fact “vectors for transmission” of the virus after all!”

Fully open schools are unsafe environments for staff or students –  apply Section 44
1st January 2021
Pay freeze threat must be answered through  co-ordinated action 
20th November 2020
Fully open schools are unsafe – trade union action is needed
28th October 2020