Socialist Worker

Teachers march through London against Michael Gove

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2359

Teachers on the march in central London

Teachers on the march in central London (Pic: Raymie Kiernan)

Chants of “Get Gove out!” rang through central London as more than 1,000 teachers marched yesterday, Wednesday.

The march, called by London NUT union, was a protest at Tory education secretary Michael Gove’s attacks on teachers and education.

It came two days before teachers in the NUT and NASUWT unions were set to strike against the attacks.

Shaheen Akhtar, a teacher from Tower Hamlets in east London, explained why she was marching. “We want a pay rise, we want more time for preparation and we don’t want to work until we’re 68,” she told Socialist Worker.

“The cuts will affect children because if you’re too tired you can’t teach properly. I think we definitely need to strike. And we need more strikes until we get what we want.”

Vanya from Hackney NUT added, “We’re passionate about improving people’s life chances. It’s really important that we come together like this and show we care about young people.”

Another teacher from east London said the Tories were “undermining the future” by attacking education. “There’s an endless list of attacks from Gove,” he said. “That’s why there’s support for strikes, although in London we could probably do with striking earlier.”

Workers from other unions joined the march too. Danielle, a Unison member, works at a school in Wandsworth. “Being in a union is about solidarity so that’s why I’m here,” she told Socialist Worker.

“I work in a school library and we’ve had job cuts and there’s less job security. It feels like we’re not serving students as well as we could be.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower, writer Melissa Benn and journalist Owen Jones addressed a rally at the end of the march. Kenny Frederick from the NAHT head teachers’ union and Vicky Easton from Unison spoke too.

Christine Blower said Gove was “vilifying” teachers and wanted to privatise schools. Kenny Frederick warned that, “This government is out to destroy the unions”. She added, It’s really important that we unite.”

The loudest applause went to Owen Jones when he said, “We have to demand the Labour leadership has some guts”.

He denounced the scapegoating of comprehensive education and argued, “We’ve got to stop being defensive. Let’s go on the offensive.”

For reports of tomorrow’s teachers’ strike in the north west of England see the Socialist Worker website. Let us know how your picket line, rally or solidarity event is going – send reports and pictures to [email protected]

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Wed 26 Jun 2013, 11:25 BST
Issue No. 2359
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