Friday, June 4, 1999 Published at 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
'This is no time to move left'
Doug McAvoy is calling on members of the National Union of Teachers to re-elect him as its leader and reject his challenger, Christine Blower. The ballot opened on 7 June.
It is a great honour to be general secretary of the most successful and influential teachers' organisation in England and Wales.
Under my leadership, the union has grown in membership year on year, has developed further its research into educational and professional issues, and has extended member involvement.
When governments address the profession, they talk to the NUT. It is the NUT that promotes the detailed, considered and representative response. Through periods of particularly hostile governments, the union has grown in strength. Together, we have met the challenges.
We are currently engaged in a significant struggle. Through reasoned argument and the boycott of the new teacher appraisal system, we seek to persuade the government to drop its proposals to link teachers' pay to appraisal and to pupils' results.
Government 'watching closely'
The government will be watching the outcome of this election closely and assessing the strength, unity and continuity of our campaign. This is no time to change the union's leadership in a move to the extreme left.
Christine Blower is the candidate favoured by the organisations and parties of the extreme left. I am committed to no political faction, party or group. My loyalty and dedication is to all the members of the union, to speak for them and to represent their views, irrespective of political agendas inside or outside the union.
My aim has always been and will continue to be to promote and protect the interests of union members and the education service.
I take pride in the growth and development of the union. The union has led the profession in major campaigns against the damaging educational policies of successive governments. The benefits and support services for members in difficulty have been developed and extended.
I seek the support of NUT members to lead the profession; to represent the interests of all teachers, men and women in all kinds of schools and units and throughout the education service; to stand up to the government; to oppose performance-related pay; to campaign for professional unity; and to restore teachers' professional status.
As the NUT's re-elected general secretary, I will campaign against performance-related pay, increased working hours, Ofsted, racism, discrimination, league tables and the constant denigration of teachers.
I will work to gain substantial increases in pay for all teachers; resist teacher redundancy; seek parity for part-time teachers; improve conditions for supply teachers; protect and enhance teachers' pension rights and benefits; and safeguard teachers' holidays.
The union has always worked for the benefit of its members and the children they teach. I want the union to continue in that tradition.
I seek the support of NUT members for my re-election as general secretary. I am grateful to the 92 associations, from all over England and Wales, which have nominated me.