Tuesday 18 July 2023

Vote Reject!

Last Thursday, the NEU National Executive agreed, by 44 votes to 22, to recommend acceptance of  the government’s latest pay offer - a 6.5% increase for September 2023. Now it’s up to NEU members to decide. An online e-vote opens today, Tuesday 18 July, and runs on to Friday 28 July. 

I am pasting below a statement issued by the five Socialist Party members on the NEC, part of the third of the Executive that voted against recommending the deal, urging NEU members to vote to REJECT it too. They are also hosting a Zoom meeting, tomorrow, Wednesday 19 July, to explain further with an open invitation to NEU members and reps to come and ask their questions and discuss how to build a fighting NEU: 

Accepting the deal means accepting two more years of pay cuts

NEU members have taken determined strike action for good reason. Teachers’ pay in England has fallen by over 20% in real terms since 2010. Food, fuel, rents and mortgages keep going up. But this deal means:

Nothing more offered for 2022

We started the dispute because last September’s award was just 5%, still correctly described on the NEU website as “another huge real terms pay cut”.

You rightly voted by 98% in March to reject a previous deal, although that at least included an extra £1,000 lump-sum for this year. This new deal doesn’t even offer that. If we accept it, we’ll have won nothing more for 2022 at all.

6.5% for 2023 is yet another pay cut 

The general secretaries are claiming the deal should be accepted as it is the “largest ever recommendation” from the School Teachers’ Review Body. But we’re also facing the “largest ever” inflation rates since the STRB began! It’s a lot less than teachers in Scotland have won, leaving their main scale £7,000 better than ours. 

The junior doctors have already rejected their offer of 6% saying it “represents yet another pay cut in real terms”. We should do the same. RPI inflation is still running at 11.3% annually, and at 24% compounded over the last two years. Accepting this deal means accepting two more years of pay cuts. We must fight on too.

The deal is NOT fully-funded - we can, and must, win more

The deal is being sold to members as being ‘fully-funded’ but we are yet to see figures which show clearly that this is the case. Yes, our pressure has forced the Tories to divert some more money into teachers’ pay, but only enough to fund “the first 3% of the pay award”.  Schools are being expected to fund the rest out of existing budgets. However, some won’t be able to without making further cuts. The Tories know that - which is why they’ve also announced a £40m ‘hardship fund’ for “schools facing specific financial difficulties as a result of this offer”. But that’s just a few hundred pounds each when divided up over thousands of schools.

Instead of making more cuts and attacking the most vulnerable - like Sunak’s announcement that he will be increasing the racist charges on migrants - the enormous wealth stashed away by the super-rich should be used to fund education, the NHS and all the other services needed by the children and families we support.

The Tories say this is their “final offer” - but they said that before in March. They’ve been forced to shift again because our action has put them under massive pressure, especially with a General Election on the horizon. So now is the time to increase that pressure, not to agree an inadequate deal – we can win more!

Members should vote to REJECT the deal and join us in arguing at the National Executive and throughout the union for a bold, serious, escalating fight in the autumn! Ask us how at our ‘Zoom’ on Wednesday 19th July.

NEU NEC members Sean McCauley, Sheila Caffrey, Louise Cuffaro, Nicky Downes, Steve Scott

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