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Derek McMillan

Martin Powell-Davies standing for VP

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Members of the NUT will recognise what a significant step this is. I received this letter this evening and it is more-or-less self-explanatory.

Electing Martin as VP has the potential to change the face of the NUT.

16 May, 2007

Dear Colleague:

The pressures facing teachers have never been greater. The demands on schools to ‘raise standards’ have created intolerable workload for staff and a joyless curriculum for our students. The divisions between schools are widening as this Government seeks to make comprehensive schooling run by a democratic Local Authority a thing of the past. Unless defeated, the twin attacks of an imposed pay freeze and new performance management regulations will further strengthen the grip of divisive ‘payment by results’ on education.

The National Union of Teachers has to show its members that we can turn the tide. With determined effort, school reps and local officers have won important victories through individual casework and local disputes. But the pressures only grow greater. The continuing stress of working in our underfunded and divided schools is taking its toll on teachers and on Local Association officers struggling to do the best they can to defend NUT members.

The 2007 National Officer Elections are an opportunity to strengthen our leadership. Local Associations need the support of a President who understands the pressures facing classroom teachers, can express their discontent, and help offer a strategy to take us forward.

We urge your Association to give one of your two nominations for Vice-President to Martin Powell-Davies. Martin will already be well known to many as Lewisham NUT’s Secretary since 1992. He has regularly been a pivotal contributor to Annual Conference debate and an articulate campaigner for teachers’ interests in school and public meetings, inside the Union and to the media. By electing him as Vice-President, NUT members can ensure that his skills and determination can also be used to strengthen the National Union.

Martin argued forcefully at Annual Conference 2007 that a strategy of defending members through individual school disputes alone is totally inadequate. As National Officer, he will campaign for the Union to lead from the front and build support for the national action that is required if we are to seriously tackle the national attacks we face.

The unanimous vote to prepare for national strike action to protect our pay was an important step forward. Martin will be campaigning within the Union to make sure that this policy is put firmly into practice, answering those who will try to find reasons not to stand firm, while forging links with other public sector unions to build strong united action.

Please do put Martin’s name forward at your Association meeting and/or in any ballot held for nominations by the closing date of September 30th 2007. If you would like to add your personal support alongside ours, invite a speaker to your Association, order copies of Martin’s campaign materials, or to donate to the campaign, please contact the address below.

Yours,

Alison Long, Assistant Secretary, & Gabby Mullins, President, Lewisham NUT

Tim Woodcock, Divisional Secretary, & Joanne Sanderson, Membership Secretary, Greenwich NUT

Robin Pye, Secretary, St. Helens NUT Jane Nellist, Joint Secretary, Coventry NUT

Linda Taaffe and Julie Lyon-Taylor, members of the NUT National Executive

Phil Clarke, NUT Young Teachers Advisory Committee

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Lewisham NUT has overwhelmingly voted to nominate Martin Powell-Davies for Vice President. They also nominated Roger King for the other VP position.

To support the campaign contact:

Martin Powell-Davies for VP

32 Tannsfeld Road

Sydenham

LONDON SE26 5DF

Phone: 020 8659 8478

Mobile: 07946 445488

E-Mail: martinpd_uk(at)yahoo.co.uk substituting the @ sign for the (at)

There is a website http://www.martin4vp.info

and a blog http://electmartin.blogspot.com

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I was pleased that my nomination for Vice-President got such overwhelming support at Lewisham NUT’s General Meeting on Monday June 19th.

Of course, you might expect that Lewisham NUT members would support their own Divisional Secretary, but this vote was about much more than appreciation for my work supporting members in Lewisham.

The meeting had first unanimously passed the motion I proposed calling on the Union not to delay any longer in announcing that we will balloting for national action to oppose Johnson’s pay freeze (see leaflet on webpage http://www.martin4vp.info ) . By rejecting the “trigger” to review our pay award for 2006-8, and then insisting on a maximum 2% settlement for 2008-10, Johnson was effectively calling the NUT’s bluff. Will we now carry out our threat to ballot – or will we back away again?

That was the theme of many of the contributions in the discussion over nominations. Conference had voted unanimously for action – but was the leadership really serious in defending its members? Was it really serious in building united action with other unions? They knew Martin would be a President that would not back away.

In contrast, the material circulated from Roger King and Gill Goodswen failed to clearly spell out where they stood. After all, at the Harrogate Conference, some on the Left, including Gill, had voted against Lewisham’s amendment calling for national action over performance pay. Perhaps that was why Gill’s nomination only received one vote at the meeting. Ian Murch had even spoken against, warning delegates to have a ‘reality check’.

But the NUT members at the meeting knew exactly what reality for classroom teachers is like – long hours, divisive performance management and now a pay freeze. I was arguing for a clear program to build national action on these issues instead of the isolating school-by-school approach being adopted by the Union. That was why they supported my stand.

The argument about ‘splitting the left’ was put to the meeting. I understand the concerns – but I don’t accept the reasoning. Four years ago, there was a united slate of two Vice-President candidates – Roger and Baljeet – but neither was elected. Two years ago, there were three Left candidates – but instead of “splitting the vote”, Baljeet was elected.

In this election, there will also be three Left candidates and, with the transferable vote, my stand will help make sure at least one of us wins. The key factor is to have a platform that will attract teachers to return their vote – a platform that shows that they are voting for a President that will stand firm and give a real lead once elected too.

I am standing in this election to offer a platform that does offer a way forward for the Union. It was an approach that won the support of Lewisham teachers. I hope it can win the support of many other NUT members too. Most of all, I hope that my campaign can help make sure the Union starts to put policy into practice and builds the national action that we need to finally turn the tide in favour of teachers and education.

Martin Powell-Davies

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I was pleased that my nomination for Vice-President got such overwhelming support at Lewisham NUT’s General Meeting on Monday June 19th.

Of course, you might expect that Lewisham NUT members would support their own Divisional Secretary, but this vote was about much more than appreciation for my work supporting members in Lewisham.

The meeting had first unanimously passed the motion I proposed calling on the Union not to delay any longer in announcing that we will balloting for national action to oppose Johnson’s pay freeze (see leaflet on webpage http://www.martin4vp.info ) . By rejecting the “trigger” to review our pay award for 2006-8, and then insisting on a maximum 2% settlement for 2008-10, Johnson was effectively calling the NUT’s bluff. Will we now carry out our threat to ballot – or will we back away again?

That was the theme of many of the contributions in the discussion over nominations. Conference had voted unanimously for action – but was the leadership really serious in defending its members? Was it really serious in building united action with other unions? They knew Martin would be a President that would not back away.

In contrast, the material circulated from Roger King and Gill Goodswen failed to clearly spell out where they stood. After all, at the Harrogate Conference, some on the Left, including Gill, had voted against Lewisham’s amendment calling for national action over performance pay. Perhaps that was why Gill’s nomination only received one vote at the meeting. Ian Murch had even spoken against, warning delegates to have a ‘reality check’.

But the NUT members at the meeting knew exactly what reality for classroom teachers is like – long hours, divisive performance management and now a pay freeze. I was arguing for a clear program to build national action on these issues instead of the isolating school-by-school approach being adopted by the Union. That was why they supported my stand.

The argument about ‘splitting the left’ was put to the meeting. I understand the concerns – but I don’t accept the reasoning. Four years ago, there was a united slate of two Vice-President candidates – Roger and Baljeet – but neither was elected. Two years ago, there were three Left candidates – but instead of “splitting the vote”, Baljeet was elected.

In this election, there will also be three Left candidates and, with the transferable vote, my stand will help make sure at least one of us wins. The key factor is to have a platform that will attract teachers to return their vote – a platform that shows that they are voting for a President that will stand firm and give a real lead once elected too.

I am standing in this election to offer a platform that does offer a way forward for the Union. It was an approach that won the support of Lewisham teachers. I hope it can win the support of many other NUT members too. Most of all, I hope that my campaign can help make sure the Union starts to put policy into practice and builds the national action that we need to finally turn the tide in favour of teachers and education.

Martin Powell-Davies

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