Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, while giving her address to Annual Conference, highlighted the NASUWT’s continuing successes and said she was proud to address a union that is winning for its members day in, day out, nationwide.
Ms O’Grady, the first woman TUC General Secretary, said: “In the face of savage government cuts and privatisation, the only thing holding our precious public services together has been the hard work and dedication of staff. So I want to start by thanking you, delegates, for the work your members do. Difficult. Demanding. But life-changing too.
“I wasn’t the greatest school pupil. The only reason I went to university was because of a history teacher called Mrs Stone. She saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. She invested her faith and time in me.
“Education is one of our most important public goods. It is the foundation stone on which so much else is built. It is simply too precious to be left to the whims of the market. The only profit that should count is the intellectual, emotional and cultural benefit our kids get from education.
“And that’s why we need a new approach to our schools. Instead of cuts, let’s have investment. Instead of dogma, let’s have common sense. And instead of driving teachers into the ground, let’s have decency and dignity for staff.
“If the government wants to improve education, the answer is simple. Stop the cuts.
“So, I want you to join our March for a New Deal for yourselves and for all workers, including the young people you teach.
Ms O’Grady outlined the principles of decent work set out in the TUC’s New Deal campaign: “As one of the world’s richest economies, we can do better than this. Every worker, in every part of the country, deserves decent work. Good pay. Regular hours. Learning and progression. Fair treatment and respect.
“So let’s make our national demonstration in May a tribute to the heroes and heroines of the trade union movement, past, present and future. A day when we demonstrate pride in everything we’ve achieved together.
“We stand together and demand the New Deal that all working people deserve.”
NASUWT President Dan McCarthy thanked Ms O’Grady, saying that it was an understatement to say that the speech would resonate with members.