The newly elected general secretary of the NUT, Steve Sinnott, told the conference he wanted to see thousands of his members marching behind the union’s national banner on the protest at the G8 summit in Scotland in July.
He was speaking after delegates watched a moving video promoting the Make Poverty History campaign.
The film was made by director Richard Curtis, who worked on Blackadder, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill.
A fringe meeting on the same theme attracted 230 delegates, making it the largest of the conference.
“A DVD of that film is going to be sent to every divisional area of the union,” said Sinnott.
“We want to take the Make Poverty History message into our schools and classrooms.
“We will be demanding of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown that they use Britain’s presidency of the G8 to implement the calls by the campaign for fair trade, cancellation of the debt owed by the poorest countries, and for more and far better aid.
“The richest nations have pledged to have every child in the world in school by 2015. There are 100 million children who are not able to attend primary school.
“The leaders of the rich nations have missed their interim target and at the current rate of progress it will take hundreds of years to achieve what they have promised for 2015.
“I will be taking a simple message to the G8 leaders and Tony Blair in Edinburgh — ‘Don’t lie to children’.”
Steve Sinnott was to take that message to one of the other major teachers’ unions, the NASUWT, at its conference this week.
Some NUT delegates described how they had already started to raise the issue in their schools and union branches. Many were already mobilising for the G8.
In Leeds a group of NUT members heard two days before the conference that debt campaigners had booked a train for the 2 July Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh.
They managed to buy 100 tickets. By Easter weekend they had sold all but 30 and the train itself was sold out.
Now over a quarter of a million NUT members have had an official call to campaign throughout the summer term for a mass turnout on the protest in Edinburgh. There are 17 other national unions affiliated to Make Poverty History and their activists can take up the same call.
For more information on the campaign go to www.makepovertyhistory.org
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