Socialist Worker

Strikers teach privateers a lesson

by Joel Hirsch
Issue No. 2296

Teachers and support workers in Walthamstow, east London, employed by private firm Babcock struck on Wednesday of last week.

Waltham Forest Council had contracted Babcock as its School Innovation Services Provider. It supplied workers to improve and advise schools.

The contract with Babcock ends at the end of this month—and 47 workers face redundancy.

The NUT union members have worked with schools to tackle bullying, support gypsy and Traveller children and children with mental health issues.

Linda Gough, one of the strikers, told Socialist Worker, “Talented people supporting vulnerable children are being brushed aside without a second thought.”

Rinaldo Frezzato is secretary of Waltham Forest NUT. He said, “These staff are there to help and support children. What’s going to happen when they’re gone?”

The union also says Babcock has reneged on the amount of redundancy pay it had promised to pay workers.

Instead of employing workers directly, the council has advertised for other private firms to take over.

It has advertised via the Procure4London website—a “one-stop shop” for firms to “access public sector opportunities”.

But introducing privatisation into the running of schools has been a disaster for children and workers alike.


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