General Meeting 14th October 2020

posted 15 Oct 2020, 06:19 by NEU Secretary

Vacant Executive Seats:

i) Black Members 

Meeting agreed to make a nomination and then voted to nominate Vik Chechi – Ribeiro

i) ATL Legacy 

Meeting agreed to make a nomination and then voted to nominate Abdul Choudury


Motions submitted by members

A)     DfE guidance on permissible themes and resources for Relationships, Sex and Health education

Islington district notes that:

• The Department for Education’s recent guidance for schools on planning their relationships, sex and health curriculum states that schools “should not under any circumstances use resources produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters.”

• The guidance lists as examples of extreme political stances “a publicly stated desire to abolish or overthrow democracy, capitalism, or to end free and fair elections.”

This branch believes that:

• Children should be encouraged by their teachers to think for themselves about important and complex issues such as homelessness, poverty, fair trade, racism, the climate crisis etc and should learn about the presence of activism rooted in a desire for social, economic and environmental justice

• Children should be encouraged through the curriculum to find about the lives of figures who have fought for equal rights and freedom from oppression here and in other countries, noting that figures such as Nelson Mandela were condemned by opponents as “extremists”.

• Teachers should give children the tools and information for informed discussions by exposing them to materials from a wide range of sources.

• Teachers should encourage children to be inquisitive, to think, read, and listen critically and analytically and not arbitrarily place subjects off-limits

• In upholding democracy and free speech as important values, – teachers should be encouraging children to look at current institutions and arrangements in society and become confident in developing their own views about what should be supported, reformed, or replaced with alternatives.

• Schools should practise as well as learn about justice, equality and human rights: that means allowing children to see themselves as having a legitimate say on such matters.

This branch further notes the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement globally and its demand that children learn about slavery, colonialism and empire. This cannot be taught in a holistic way without teaching and thinking critically about the economic arrangements in which these occurred.

This branch expresses its concern about the drift towards authoritarianism expressed in these guidelines and the chilling effect they are likely to have on children’s access to information on important and pressing issues in our society.

This branch resolves to

• encourage teachers to continue to put equality and social justice at the heart of their teaching.

• call on Islington Council to oppose the guidance and recommend that Islington schools do not accept the DfE’s definition of “extremism”.

• call on the NEU nationally to support members in challenging this guidance and defend members who fall foul of the guidance by continuing to pursue good educational practice in their classrooms.


B)    Motion on Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety

 

(1)      Islington NEU notes the launch of the People Before Profit: Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety. (See below)

(2)      We believes that this programme can help to shape the resistance we need to prevent workers and the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt of a health emergency and economic crisis not of their making.

(3)      We resolve to adopt this programme and to consider ways we can take up its demands in the interests of our members, and publicise them.

(4)      We agree to to inform the organisers of the Emergency Programme  (at healthworkercoronavirus@gmail.com ) of our support.

 

An Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety

Tens of thousands of have unnecessarily died from the Covid pandemic thanks to a government that was ill prepared and put profit ahead of peoples safety. Now, alongside a Covid pandemic that is far from over, we face an avalanche of job losses, more austerity and more attacks on pay and conditions.

We need a fightback across workplaces and communities to demand that ordinary people wont pay for the crisis.

 

Extend the Furlough scheme – Defend Jobs: The withdrawal of the governments Furlough scheme will have a devastating impact on jobs: it must be kept in place for at least the next 12 months and be extended to cover all workers regardless of what type of contract they are on – no worker should be left behind. Government should take an ownership stake in firms in return for such support. We demand a 35 hour week for workers with no loss of pay. Firms making profits must be barred from making mass redundancies and shareholder dividend payments should be frozen. Major firms that go bankrupt should be nationalised without compensation with workers provided with a job guarantee. We will support any group of workers that strikes or occupies their workplace to defend jobs.

 

Safe workplaces: Both government and employers are pressing to drive ever more people back to work despite the real dangers of a second Covid wave and the utter failure to put a credible test and trace system in place. Unions must sign off any agreements over what constitutes safe working conditions and the right to refuse to work in unsafe workplaces must be strengthened. High quality PPE must be provided. In workplaces without unions, the democratic election of workers’ reps should be legally provided for, with a right to involve a trade union if requested. We support any group of workers that refuse to work in unsafe workplaces.

 

Tax the wealthy – dont make workers’ pay for the crisis: The richest 1,000 people in UK have an estimated combined wealth of £743 billion alone! We need a massive transfer of resources from the rich to protect jobs, services and living standards. The top rate of income tax was 83 percent until 1980 – this should be reinstated. An immediate wealth tax should be imposed on all those with wealth of £1 million and over. We need a Living Wage for all workers of at least £15 per hour and this must be extended to cover those working in the gig economy”. We support all workers fighting for better pay. We reject any argument that pay freezes will save jobs – we need to fight on every front.

 

Public ownership of services and end outsourcing: Services like Royal Mail, rail, energy and water must be brought back into public ownership. The outsourcing of services to private firms across the health service, civil service, local government and elsewhere must be reversed – no more two tier workforces, one with less pay, security and poorer sickness entitlement.

 

For an immediate massive programme of green investment: We need to re-purpose” industries like aviation, car production, engineering to urgently address the climate crisis, end dependency on fossil fuels and to provide a million climate jobs.  We need a massive programme of investment in council housing and in public transport.

 

A welfare system that provides real social security and dignity: Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax must both be scrapped and benefit sanctions halted. Benefit payments should be massively increased and the moratorium on housing evictions must be maintained.

 

Get organised!

 

Build fighting unions and solidarity with every fightback: to defend the interests of workers we need to rebuild the trade union movement. We need to draw millions of workers facing job losses, low pay, lack of safety at work into the unions – and we need tens of thousands of new reps and activists who can help organise campaigns, strikes and protest to defend workers. Unions that fightback can recruit members and enthuse a new generation of activists. Every group of workers that fights back should be flooded with messages of support, donations to their strike fund and invites to address union and labour movement meetings. We demand the repeal of all the anti-trade union laws.

 

Equality and unity - dont let them divide us: Governments that want to shift the burden of a crisis onto the shoulders of workers and the poor will also turn to more scapegoating, division and racism to help push their attacks through. We will organise to challenge and oppose all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia and discrimination against disabled people. Only though unity based on equality can we fight back effectively.

 

C)    Youth Climate Summit

 Islington NEU Recognises that 

·  the COVID crisis is one manifestation of environmental blowback,

·  while the world has been preoccupied with it, climate breakdown is accelerating,

·  the DFE is failing in its responsibilities to the next generation and to Article 12 of the Paris Agreement in rejecting the appeal of the student strikers for a full curriculum review to make what we teach and learn adequate to the scale of the crisis we face,

Islington NEU therefore

·  welcomes the initiative taken from below by teachers and NGOs to launch the Youth Climate Summit this November and the Go Zero Campaign that flows from it.

·  resolves to promote this initiative and campaign with the Local Authority, local MATs, schools, our Reps, members and our school communities; with a view to getting the maximum possible participation and organisation flowing from it.





Comments