SCHOOL SUPPORT staff protested outside East Ham town hall on Wednesday of last week. This was part of a week-long strike involving selected groups of local council staff in 17 London boroughs. The action was part of the long-running fight to win an increase to £4,000 in the London weighting allowance many workers get for the extra costs of living and working in the capital.
That fight has already seen several London-wide one-day strikes involving tens of thousands of council workers and school support staff. So far the employers, backed by the government, have refused to move. Last week groups of workers in many boroughs were pulled out for a week. Other groups were out this week. 'We take home around £180 for a full week,' said Sam White, from Brompton Manor school. If you have a family you can spend £100 or more on shopping. Then there's your rent or mortgage, and travel. Then you have to find a childminder. You're out of pocket just by the time you've finished with that lot.'
Tom Nixon is the TGWU branch secretary in Newham. Some of his members were due to strike this week as part of the dispute. 'It is vital to keep up this action. We'll have refuse and cleaning workers out. It would be wrong to end the strike action until we win a decent offer.' Strikers rallied in other areas of London last week.
Around 120 strikers from 12 schools in Camden in north London marched to a rally at Camden Town Hall chanting, 'Low pay, no way' and 'Money for schools, not for war'.