Strikes by teachers at an east London school have forced serious concessions from their head teacher.
The workers at Stratford Academy school held a series of strikes after their head docked their pay for taking part in action short of a strike. This was part of the NUT and NASUWT unions’ national campaign over workload and conditions.
Both NUT and NASUWT members joined the walkouts. And last week governors agreed to repay the wages that the head had docked—and workers suspended planned further strikes.
Teachers walked out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week. More than 25 teachers swelled the picket lines on Thursday. It was a major show of solidarity in a dispute where workers felt intimidated.
Pickets applauded delegations of supporters who came from nearby schools to support the action. Teachers told Socialist Worker that parents’ meetings earlier in the week had really changed the atmosphere.
Parents had grilled the head teacher in front of the governors, blaming him for the fact that their children had to stay at home. Workers met the following day.
“It was really good,” said one teacher. “People were able to share their experiences of being bullied by management. Until then they had been frightened to be seen by management.
“But once they saw that we were all in it together they said they weren’t afraid any more.”
Parents organised their own group, Stratford Academy Concerned Parents, and passed a motion in support of the teachers.
Their motion called on governors to “immediately withdraw cuts to teachers’ pay, to allow teachers to carry out their lawful trade union actions, and to ensure that Stratford Academy is free of management bullying or threats towards teachers and all staff, and pupils and parents.”
The dispute at Stratford isn’t over. Unions and management are set to take part in talks at the Acas conciliation service over the original dispute. But workers have shown that strikes can get results.