for NEU Deputy General Secretary
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.
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
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.
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.