Socialist Worker

Fighting back for education

Issue No. 2203

Richmond College and the University of Arts

UCU lecturers’ union members at Richmond College and the University of Arts (UAL) were to strike on Thursday of this week.

Some 68 percent of UCU members at UAL voted for strikes to save around 100 jobs.

This week’s action follows coordinated strikes by ten London colleges and three universities on 5 May.

Workers at Westminster university, who are fighting to save 50 jobs, are now refusing to mark exam papers—and workers at other colleges could do the same.

A host of colleges are already in the middle of ballots for action. They include:

  • City of Westminster College—ballot ends 7 June
  • Birmingham Metropolitan College—ballot ends 16 June
  • South Birmingham College— ballot ends 16 June
  • City College Birmingham— ballot ends 16 June
  • City of Wolverhampton College—ballot ends 16 June

Meanwhile, more than 300 lecturers joined an emergency meeting at Glasgow University this week, voting unanimously to ballot for industrial action to stop 80 job cuts.

Others, such as Bradford College, are in talks with management following strike action. Many more have suspended action after winning assurances over compulsory job losses—but remain in dispute and could strike again.

Lecturers have shown that strikes can force management to retreat. The spreading of disputes is a sign of the anger that exists about cuts that will stop the poorest people from getting an education.

Clifton Primary School

Teachers in the NUT union at Clifton Primary School in Southall, London, were to strike on Wednesday of this week against the sacking of three teachers—including two language specialists—and their replacement with unqualified and untrained assistants.

Secretary of Ealing NUT, Nick Grant, said, “What parent wants to send their child to a school where vital learning is overseen by unqualified staff?”

NUT Young Teachers’ Conference

Around 140 members met at the unions' Young Teachers’ Conference last weekend.

Author Alan Gibbons spoke about the deadening effect of Sats tests and league tables.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said there are two worlds in education—the world where teachers do their best to support their students and the world of endless levels, targets, testing and Ofsted that is so damaging to the first.

Love Music Hate Racism held a workshop on anti-fascism and hip-hop, and task groups debated our ideal schools.

A collection for BA strikers raised £151 and delegates agreed to visit the picket lines.

Andy Stone

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Article information

Tue 25 May 2010, 18:07 BST
Issue No. 2203
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