Sunday 14 February 2010

My record of building the Union

" I have been teaching in London - and building the NUT- for over twenty years. Through consistent leadership, Lewisham NUT's membership has doubled since I became its Secretary. In that time, I have been involved in every major struggle of London teachers, from London Allowances to Sats, Performance Pay to Academies, combating the BNP to fighting job cuts. Right now, I am building action against pay cuts and on workload, organising against Academies, helping to hold off a 'Goldsmiths Trust' of local schools.

After Kevin Courtney's excellent victory in the Deputy General Secretary election, I am standing to fill his place on the NUT Executive and to use my skills and experience to help support teachers across Inner London.

I don't belong to any of the main groups on the NUT Executive. I can - and will - speak out when the NUT fails to act decisively to defend teachers. Our national campaigns on Pay & Sats have lacked a clear winning strategy. Above all, we have failed to protect teachers from intolerable workload.

Existing workload strategy relies on isolated school-by-school disputes. But the last two NUT Annual Conferences have agreed with me that we need to bring all members together to tackle a national issue through national action. We should be organising a national ballot to demand a National Contract that guarantees binding limits on our overall working and teaching hours. The present Executive has failed to act - I will insist that we delay no longer !

After the General Election, the new Executive may quickly need to respond to the challenge of severe cutbacks. Pay, pensions and jobs could be under attack. Academies and Trusts could spread further across London, even to primary schools. Poverty could divide youth and deepen pupil disaffection. Why should education be sacrificed to pay for the 'banksters' greed? We must organise with parents and other unions to oppose cuts and privatisation.

As Chair of the SE Region TUC Public Services Committee, I am already working with other unions to prepare for joint action to defend our services. I would visit London schools to discuss how best to develop public campaigns, work-to-rule and strike ballots - then ensure we turn words into action! "

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